Economics for everybody: Manchester ‘(un)conference’ to combat public ‘disconnect’

A new, back to basics conference trying to break down the barriers preventing average people from getting engaged with economics is to take place at Manchester University next week.

The Boombustboom conference runs from Tuesday until Thursday at the university’s Student Union on Oxford Road and will provide a series of talks, events and even a crash-course in economics.

Organised by the Post-Crash Economics Society (PCES), a group of Manchester University economics graduates, and Re-Thinking Economics, a worldwide network of economics students, its aim is to encourage the public to engage in economic discussion.  

Joe Earle, 23, an event organiser and founding member of the PCES told MM: “This event is of a new magnitude for us. It is the first time we have branched out into public education.

“We hope that over the three days we can create a space in which anyone, whatever their background will feel comfortable talking about economics, sharing their experiences and expressing their opinions.”

The conference will also be take place at the same time as the prestigious Royal Economic Conference, which will be see talks held in neighbouring buildings at the university.

Organisers hope that by running the event alongside its established counterpart, prominent members of the economics community including academics will be encouraged to at least consider a different approach to delivering their subject.

Set up in 2012 by University of Manchester students, PCES is a response to the dominance of the mainstream in the undergraduate economics syllabus.

The founders realised that not only was classroom economics ignoring the real world, but also a combination of technical language and ‘a feeling of powerlessness’ was preventing the public from discussing economic issues.

Speakers at Tuesday’s (un)conference will include Martin Wolf, the Financial Times’ chief economics commentator, and Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News.

Joe said: “This conference brings some of the world’s leading economists together to make economics more accessible and more relevant.”

“Economics affects all our lives in both good and bad ways, yet it seems that the average person feels disconnected and irrelevant.

“It is about issues which are familiar to us all; living, dying, learning, sharing, competing and growing.”

The Boombustboombust conference runs from Tuesday March 31 until Thursday April 2 at the University Student Union on Oxford Road. For more information or to buy tickets click here.

Image courtesy of European Parliament, with thanks

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