Financial, Economic and Political Crises - Carrying Social Science Education on as Before?

  • Reinhold Hedtke


This issue of the Journal of Social Science Education deals with the financial and economic crises, its causes and the consequences which could be drawn for civic and economic education. As far as economic and civic educators are expected to behave like communicators of established scientific knowledge received from economics or political science, they also are hit by the crisis of these two disciplines which is induced by their severe shortcomings in the crisis. The conventional wisdom of economics or of political science failed to provide an early warning system of potentially dangerous institutions, policies or outcomes. On the contrary, among the main causes of the financial crisis and its political and economic failures are: policy recommendations delivered by the Chicago school of economics, beliefs and decisions of the economic and political elites encouraged by mainstream economics and economic liberalism, and, last but not least, an increasing self-restraint of the state towards the market, fed by political theories based on the idea that (financial) markets should best control themselves. The financial-economic-political crisis cannot be understood without its ideological, institutional and political framework, and this framework cannot be understood without taking into account its foundations in mainstream economics and the economic mode of thinking which is also flourishing in political science. The significant shift of power in favour of the international financial industries has to be considered, too. Disentangling the intricate causes of the intertwined crises and discussing its consequences – also for education at universities – is a challenging task taken up by the authors of this and the next issue of the JSSE.