The post-autistic economics movement (French: autisme-économie),[1] or movement of students for the reform of economics teaching (French: mouvement des étudiants pour une réforme de l'enseignement de l'économie),[2] is a political movement that criticises neoclassical economics and advocates for pluralism in economics. The movement gained attention after an open letter signed by almost a thousand economics students at French universities and grandes ecoles was published in Le Monde in 2000.[3]


The French term autisme has an older meaning than the English term autism and signifies "abnormal subjectivity, acceptance of fantasy rather than reality". However, post-autistic economists also "assert that neoclassical economics has the characteristics of an autistic child".[4]

The pejorative reference to the neurodevelopmental disorder autism is considered offensive by some economists.[5] Greg Mankiw has said that "use of the term indicates a lack of empathy and understanding for those who live with actual, severe autism".[6]


The French minister of education appointed a panel headed by Jean-Paul Fitoussi to inquire into economics teaching.[7] In 2000, the panel called for limited reform.[8]

Articles associated with the movement were published in the Post-Autistic Economics Newsletter from September 2000. This electronic newsletter became the Post-Autistic Economics Review and, since 2008, has existed as the peer-reviewed journal Real-World Economics Review.[9]

Several responses to the French students' open letter were also published in Le Monde. A counter-petition signed by 15 French economists was published in October 2000.[10] Robert Solow adhered to the "main thesis" of the French students' petition, but criticised the "opaque and almost incomprehensible" debate that followed among academics.[11] Olivier Blanchard published a response defending mainstream economics.[9] Other notable economists, such as Steve Keen and James K. Galbraith, wrote elsewhere in support of the French students.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Badiou, Alain (15 July 2009). "The post-autistic movement". Adbusters. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Le site du mouvement des étudiants pour une réforme de l'enseignement de l'économie" [The site of the movement of students for the reform of economics teaching] (in French). Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Lettre ouverte des étudiants en économie" [Open letter from students in economics]. Le Monde (in French). 17 June 2000. Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via
  4. ^ Alcorn, Stanley; Solarz, Ben (1 July 2006). "The Autistic Economist". Post-Autistic Economics Review (38). 2. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  5. ^ Kay, Neil (7 September 2008). "The Importance of Words". Letter to the editors of the Post-Autistic Economics Review.
  6. ^ Mankiw, Greg (3 December 2007). "Autism and Economics". Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  7. ^ Monaghan, Peter (24 January 2003). "Taking on rational man: dissident economists fight for a niche in the discipline". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via Iowa State University.
  8. ^ Raveaud, Gilles (2000). "The Fitoussi Report" – via
  9. ^ a b Fullbrook, Edward. "The post-autistic economics movement: a brief history" (PDF). Journal of Australian Political Economy (50): 14–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via Altruists International.
  10. ^ "Contre-appel pour préserver la scientificité de l'économie" [Counter-appeal to preserve the scientificity of economics]. Le Monde (in French). 31 October 2000. Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via
  11. ^ Solow, Robert (3 January 2001). "L'économie entre empirisme et mathématisation" [Economics between empiricism and mathematization]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via
  12. ^ Galbraith, James K. (January 2001). "A contribution on the state of economics in France and the world". In Fullbrook, Edward (ed.). The crisis in economics: the post-autistic economics movement: the first 600 days. p. 47. ISBN 0415308976. Retrieved 31 December 2016 – via Post-Autistic Economics Network.

Further reading