In the post-World War II period, economics turned out to be broadly understood as economic science, that is to say, as a specific area of the development of human knowledge. In this historical context, the mainstream-heterodox controversies overwhelmed the discussions about the different possibilities of economic organization and wealth distribution in terms of a common good.
After the 1970s, the institutional crisis turned out to be a scientific knowledge crisis. Since then, mainstream economists have tended to propose more complex pictures with limited rationality, changing institutions and path-dependent outcomes. Nevertheless, their theoretical and analytical proposals still prevent students from a full apprehension of the historical transformations and the real-world.
Heterodox economists have also faced the depth of the knowledge challenge that reveals the broad scope of the contemporary crisis of Western societies and their institutions. In the attempt to promote the understading of the complex real-world economics and social issues, heterodox teaching have delineated new perspectives to examine problems such as:
- Which are the major institutional changes and the driven-forces of current structural capitalist dynamics?;
- Which are the new relations between national states, capital and labor within globalization?;
- Which are the targets and possibilities of national policy-making in open and interdependent economies?;
- Which development is possible in heterogeneous economies and pluralist societies?