What is the value that economists provide to society?

Friday, 15 April 2016  Media Alerts

​“They’ve been accused of producing predictions no better than guesswork. They’ve been said to build models that are blind to reality. Some of them are paid to teach their craft, but the curriculum they use has been attacked by their own students,” says the UNSW Business School’s Associate Professor Gigi Foster​. “We’re talking about economists.”

Academics will discuss and engage with the audience on “The Future of Economics” on Thursday evening in Sydney’s CBD.

“What is the value that economists provide to society?” she asks. “What role do they play?  In relation to modern problems ranging from climate change and population ageing through to inequality and corruption, are they part of the problem or part of the solution?  Where is economics as a discipline headed, and should society be alarmed or excited about that trajectory?  These are questions I routinely ask my first-year students, and the public might like to hear some answers to such questions, from the mouths of actual economists.”

She says the discussion will be free and wide ranging. “We’ve brought together three internationally renowned economists to discuss ‘The Future of Economics’ in a free, interactive session where everyone has the chance to ask distinguished economics professors their views on these sorts of questions.”

Three internationally renowned economists  - Professor Geoff Harcourt​, and  Professor Richard Holden​ from UNSW, and Professor Mary Morgan from the London School of Economics - will grapple with questions about the social role and value of economists, and where the discipline is headed, for good or for ill.  

“I’m expecting an intellectually-charged evening of debate about what economics is all about – now and in the future,” says Gigi Foster, who helped bring the panel event together. The panel event has been jointly sponsored by the Economic Society of Australia’s NSW branch and UNSW, and will be moderated by Adam Creighton, Economics Correspondent at The Australian. 

See more at the​​​​​ future economics website​

Date: Thursday April 21, 2016, 6:00 pm

Location: UNSW CBD campus, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Media contact: 

Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 9887 


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