IDEAs has been established with the purpose of building a pluralist network of heterodox economists engaged in the teaching, research and application of critical analyses of economic development. While the organization will be South-based, the network will be open to all committed to developing more appropriate and progressive analysis of development challenges.

Concern with the development process has been central to the study of economics from its inception. However, the study of development economics, which emphasized structural change and systemic processes, has been increasingly marginalized in the teaching and study of economics.

Simultaneously, the policy approaches that emphasized market regulation and collective action (including government intervention) to promote sustainable growth with justice, human rights and democratic participation, have also lost ground in both developed and developing countries.

These processes have been associated with the rise to dominance of the neo-liberal paradigm propagated by political establishments in some developed countries through powerful multilateral economic institutions. Such hegemony has been accompanied by efforts to dismiss, discredit and displace at the policy level other theoretical and applied work in economics. And this is occurring in a context in which developing economies across the world are facing acute difficulties, partly induced (and often aggravated) by policies of adjustment, stabilization and liberalization simplistically derived from standard neo-liberal premises.
Since the current mainstream economic paradigm, as formulated by neo-liberal orthodoxy, has failed to achieve sustainable, equitable and participatory growth, it is believed necessary to build an international network of progressive economists engaged in the teaching, research and utilization of development economics.

Objectives

1. Building a pluralistic network of committed researchers, teachers and other economists interested in advancing progressive heterodox approaches to critically analysing and addressing the problems of economic development processes.

2. Developing, consolidating and promoting such approaches and strengthening economists receptive to, and willing to collaborate in developing, such approaches.

3. Providing better facilities, access to information and analysis, and greater possibilities for interaction and co-operation among such economists and development practitioners.

4. Developing resources – ranging from basic theoretical methods and tools, to empirical analyses of concrete and specific situations – as well as related teaching and study materials, and widely disseminating such resources.

5. Facilitating closer cooperation with sympathetic and interested government, inter-governmental, non-governmental organizations and other social movements seeking to promote more sustainable and equitable economic development.

6. Recognizing, appreciating and promoting excellence in activities that advance these objectives.