A memewar salvo has been opened on the University of California – Berkeley's prestigious Economics department. The Kick It Over Manifesto was boldly pinned to the door of Daniel McFadden, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, along with bulletin boards throughout the department.
Printed on bright pink paper, the manifesto declares in part: "You hide in your offices, protected by your mathematical jargon, while in the real world, forests vanish, species perish and human lives are callously destroyed. We accuse you of gross negligence in the management of our planetary household."
The goal was to disrupt the obliviousness of students and teachers who preach the self-destructive consumerist lie that societies should pursue economic growth. It worked: the manifesto hit a nerve.
Within three hours, an adjunct professor emailed Adbusters to justify his approach to teaching economic theory. But he concluded with a defiant flare: "I have a fairly strong hunch that you are mistaken about the system crumbling, or the imminent loss of relevance of mainstream economics. In all likelihood my students will continue to have considerable influence on the body politic for many years to come."
We, jammers and activists, vow to make the econ department a key location in the coming insurrection of ideas. To the students of economics in universities across the world, we say that it is time to challenge the flawed economic theories of your professors. As Kalle Lasn wrote in his Preface to the Student, before you is a decision moment: "You can ignore all of the screaming inconsistencies and accept the status quo. You can cross your fingers and hope the old paradigm has a generation or two left in it, enough for you to carve out a career. Or you can align yourself from the get-go with the mavericks. You can be an agitator, a provocateur, one of the students on campus who posts heterodox messages up on notice boards and openly challenges professors in class. You can bet your future career on a paradigm shift."