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[Insight] Oration on the First New Economics Forum
2016-01-15
Li Honggang

 

Distinguished guests, teachers and students,

 

Welcome to the first New Economics Forum, hosted by School of Systems Science and Maxdo College, Beijing Normal University. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the origin and background of this forum, so to explain why a science department like us would host a forum on new economics.

 

As is shown on the pamphlet, this forum is initiated by the New Economics Book Club. With the help of Rethinking Economics, we established the New Economics Book Club along with students of other universities and colleges in 2014 aimed at promoting the development and spread of the new economics. I want to specially mention the contribution of Xiong Wanting, a doctoral student in our school. In April 2014, Xiong Wanting was invited to the INET Toronto 2014 Conference and YSI Workshop in Canada. As the only student representative from Mainland China, Xiong had face-to-face communication with many well-known economists and looked into the development process of new economics, which helped her to play a dominant role in the establishment of the New Economics Book Club.

 

And the man behind Xiong Wanting is her tutor, Professor Wang Yougui. In 2010, Professor Wang helped establish Ness, an academic section created by Professor Zhang Yicheng of University of Fribourg in Switzerland and British economist Professor Paul Ormerod. Ness devotes itself to construct a new paradigm of new economics by multi-disciplinary analyzing. In 2011, Professor Wang joined the WEA and became a founding member. And the goal of WEA is to gather more non-mainstream economists to compete with the mainstream and construct a new paradigm of new economics. In 2014, Professor Wang was invited to the INET Toronto 2014 conference and YSI workshop in Canada. Sponsored by billionaire George Soros, this institute is aimed at establishing new theoretical system and economic disciplines that differ from mainstream economics. We can see that Professor Wang has been working hard to promote the new economics.

 

The socioeconomic system complexity study team of School of Systems Science has always been the academic supporting platform of Professor Wang Yougui. In 1989, Fang Fukang, the founder of our school recommended The Economy as an Evolving Complex System (Addison-Wesley, 1988), proceedings compiled by Anderson, Arrow and Pines, and led us into the study on complexity economics. For more than 20 years, we have been taking socioeconomic system as a crucial academic research direction of systems science and conducting a series of important academic activities: in 1994, we hosted an international forum--“Complexity and Self-organization of Socioeconomic System”, and published Proceedings of International Conference on the Complexity and Self-organization in Socioeconomic Systems in Springer. In 2004, we hosted the first Sino-Germany Evolutionary Economics Seminar. In 2009 we hosted the annual meeting of Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents (ESHIA) as its first time in Asia. In 2013, we hosted a seminar on new paradigm of new economics attended jointly by European and American scholars as well as Chinese scholars.

 

It is the idea and method of systems science that makes us hold on to the study on economic system complexity. Undoubtedly, mainstream economics has always been influenced by natural science and technology. For instance, it can be seen from Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Paul A Samuelson’s Foundations of Economic Analysis the influence of Newtonian dynamics. In Principles of Economics, Alfred Marshall clearly pointed out that the Mecca of economists is biology. William Brian Arthur emphasized the crucial role that complex systems thinking and computer science (especially the theoretical expression based on calculation rule) play in economics. However, mathematics has more influence on economics in general, for it emphasizes on the logical reasoning on the condition of “specification” assumption. Now, “new economics” is calling the “traditional economics” back to the applied economics from the charming “blackboard economics”, which I think, from the perspective of methodology, is to take the economic system in real world as real complex system and study economics with the idea and method of complex system. Science of complexity is a discipline that incorporates the various complex system studies of physic, bio-ecology, computer technology and other related disciplines. It focuses on the “emergence” from micro-level to macro-level as well as the “evolution” of both the subject and the environment, which can help solve the two unsolved problems of economics, namely micro-macro connection and the dynamic behavior of economic system. At the same time, study on the human-participated economic system can help enrich general complex system study.

 

All in all, taking systems science into economic system study is necessary at a certain stage of scientific development. Therefore, it is natural that we host this New Economics Forum.

 

I wish the forum a complete success!

 

Thank you!

 

 

Professor Li Honggang

 

School of Systems Science, Beijing Normal University Copyright
Mailbox : sss@bnu.edu.cn Zip code : 100875 Address : YINGDONG Building, Beijing Normal University Telephone : 58804138
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