Cape Town 141010 Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan briefing parliment on the annal business report.South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday the world was heading towards a "currency war" unless developed nations gave ground in negotiations at the Group of 20 (G20). picture : neil baynes

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Monday urged academics to help revise outworn economic thinking that no longer fits a changing, crisis-ridden world.

Gordhan told the 16th World Economic History Congress in Stellenbosch there was an imbalance between the locus of production and that of growth, and between political beliefs and the predominant reality.

“The question is, is there an epochal transition, are we seeing a new configuration of political and social power?”

Gordhan said history was essential to understanding society, but the challenge was to turn these insights into practice.

“What we learnt from Karl Marx is that philosophers interpret the world. However the point is to change it.”

When Gordhan became finance minister in 2009, much was made of his early affiliation to the SA Communist Party, but he said he was a no longer a member and had explored Marxism as a set of humanist values. - Sapa