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Post-Autistic Economics (PAE) is a movement of different groups critical of the current economics mainstream: behavioral economics, heterodox economics, feminist economics, green economics, and econo-physics. It was born through the work of University of Paris 1 economist Bernard Guerrien. It was started in 2000 by a group of disaffected French economics students.
The term autistic is used in an informal way, signifying "abnormal subjectivity, acceptance of fantasy rather than reality". It has been criticized for using the medical diagnosis, autism, as a derogatory expression. However, the term "autistic economy" has a historical scholarly use in economics that pre-dates the discovery of the medical condition autism in 1943. In economics the term "autistic economy" refers collectively to any command economy where only one will governs. In early human history some examples of autistic economies included tribal & slave economies as well as lone households making production decisions in isolation based only on the preferences of the head of the household. In modern times both socialist and fascist command economies have been referred to collectively by economists as the "autistic economies."
Guerrien has challenged standard neoclassical assumptions and incorporated ideas from sociology and psychology into economic analysis. Specifically, he has criticised the notions of utility theory, rational choice, production and efficiency theory (Pareto optimality), and game theory.
Other topics include "Gross National Happiness", realism vs. mathematical consistency, "Thermodynamics and Economics", or "Irrelevance and Ideology". Contributors to the "Post-Autistic Economics Review" included Bruce Caldwell, James K. Galbraith, Robert L. Heilbroner, Bernard Guerrien, Emmanuelle Benicourt, Ha-Joon Chang, Herman Daly and Richard D. Wolff.
Criticism of the term
Some mainstream economists—such as Robert Solow, in a long article in Le Monde, followed by another by Olivier Blanchard, the chair at MIT, as well as the publication of a counter-petition to the French students’ petition, a plea for the status quo—argue that a characterization of academic economics taught in today's colleges as autistic in the sense of closed-minded is unfair, since many branches of post-modern economics reject classical economic world-views and heavy reliance on mathematics.
In addition, the term "autistic" is a medical description of a developmental condition, and thus its use to characterize mainstream economics is considered by many to be highly insensitive and indicative of a lack of empathy and understanding on the part of self-described post-autistic economists for actual autistics.
In March, 2008, the post-autistic economics review changed its name to the real-world economics review.
- Criticisms of neoclassical economics
- History of economics
- Pluralism in economics
- Post-Keynesian economics
- Real-world economics review
- The Cambridge 27 (July 2001). "Opening Up Economics". post-autistic economics newsletter (7, article 1). Archived from the original on 30 June 2012.
- http://www.yaleeconomicreview.com/issues/2006_summer/autistic_economist.html[dead link] ALCORN, Stanley and SOLARZ, Ben. The Autistic Economist, Yale Economic Review]
- Kay, Neil (7 September 2008), The Importance of Words
- von Mises, Ludwig. "Human Action, Part 4, Chapter 14". Retrieved 1949. Check date values in:
- http://www.autisme-economie.org/article115.html Is There Anything Worth Keeping in Standard Microeconomics?
- "Robert Solow (2001) L´économie entre empirisme et mathématisation. Le Monde, 3 January 2001, in post-autistic economics media archives". Archived from the original on 30 November 2012.
- Galbraith, James K. (January 2001). "A contribution on the state of economics in France and the world". post-autistic economics newsletter (4, article 1). Archived from the original on 30 November 2012.
- "Autism and Economics". 3 December 2007.
- ALCORN, Stanley and SOLARZ, Ben. The Autistic Economist, Yale Economic Review
- Real World Economics: A Post-Autistic Economics Reader, ed. by Edward Fullbrook, Anthem Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84331-236-0
- Mark Blaug. "Ugly Currents in Modern Economics", Policy Options, September 1997. Available as PDF.
- Peter Monaghan. "Taking on Rational Man: Dissident economists fight for a niche in the discipline", Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 January 2003.
- Richard Smith, "Eco-suicidal Economics of Adam Smith," Capitalism Nature Socialism, Volume 18 Number 2 (June 2007): 22-43. PDF at 
- Fred Foldvary (ed). Beyond Neoclassical Economics: Heterodox Approaches to Economic Theory, Edward Elgar Publishing, Aldershot, U.K., 1996.
- Official site of the PAE organisation and newsletter
- The Post-Autistic Economic Review, a scholarly journal published by the movement
- The People-Centered Development Forum
- Article Taking On 'Rational Man' – Dissident economists fight for a niche in the discipline
- Article 'Kick it Over! – The Rise of Post-Autistic Economics' in Adbusters magazine, 2004 Sept.