The movement for Post-Autistic Economics was born through the work of Sorbonne economist Bernard Guerrien. Started in Spring 2000 by group of disaffected French economics students, Post-Autistic Economics first reached a wider audience in June 2000 after an interview in Le Monde.
It was supported by the Cambridge Ph.D students in 2001 with the publication of "Opening Up Economics: A Proposal By Cambridge Students" and is signed by 797 students.
The term autistic is used in an informal way, synonymous to "closed-minded" or "self-absorbed". It has been criticized for using the term in this way, which could offend people suffering from disorders in the autistic spectrum, for example Asperger syndrome.
The movement is best seen as a forum of different groups critical of the current mainstream: from behavioral and heterodox to feminist, green economics and econo-physics .
PAE has challenged standard neoclassical assumptions and incorporated ideas from sociology and psychology into economic analysis. Specifically, the notions of utility theory, (consumer choice), production and efficiency theory (pareto optimality) as well as game theory have been criticised: one much discussed article read Is There Anything Worth Keeping in Standard Microeconomics?.
Other topics include "Gross National Happyness", realism vs. mathematical consistency, "Thermodynamics and Economics", or "Irrelevance and Ideology". Contributors include Bruce Caldwell , James K. Galbraith, Robert L. Heilbroner , Bernard Guerrien, Emmanuelle Benicourt, Ha-Joon Chang, Herman E. Daly and Richard Wolff.
Criticism of the Term
As described above, people suffering from autistic spectrum disorders like Asperger Syndrome might feel offended by the use of the term autistic.
Others have argued that a characterisation of academic economics taught in todays colleges as autistic in the sense of closed-minded is unfair, since many branches of post-modern economics reject narrow world views and excessive reliance upon mathematics.