Ecological Economics 2: Finding Our Way to a New Understanding
Spring 2023, Mondays from April 3 – May 22
A conventional approach to economics ignoring Nature has served us ill, creating a myopic culture ravaging our ecological systems across the planet. Understanding ecological economics will give you a different perspective on how our social organization can better promote a general sense of well-being for everyone in society.
This course will examine our rivalrous systems critically, and sketch a much more hopeful and positive view of social organization placing Nature as the context in which all Economics occurs. As we proceed through the course, we will learn different ways of thinking about our relations to our fellows, other species and the world we inhabit. You will learn in this course why a traditional economics is steering us so wrong, and how to reframe our understanding into a larger view of our role in and impact upon the world and all life.
Join us for an 8-week excursion into our economic culture and why it is doing us so much harm. You will emerge from this course with a far more robust understanding of how to think about social systems and to design them to work better for all of us. The course will open you up to a far less dismal economics than you might expect!
This is an 8 week course that meets every Monday starting April 3 and running through May 22, 2023, with an open preview session held on Monday, March 27. Sessions will be held from 12 – 2pm ET.
Join our live class each Monday to discuss readings, share relevant insights and experiences with each other, and consider some challenging questions about the way our social systems are organized and might be changed! By enrolling in this course, you will join a friendly community of interesting people addressing a new range of ideas about how we can improve our society and blaze a better route to ecological health and happiness.
Fred Jennings was trained in traditional economics at Harvard and Stanford Universities, though he developed a quite divergent approach to this subject in subsequent years. He is the author of numerous published papers and essays on what went so wrong with economics and how to reframe it into an ecologically sensitive form based on a more realistic concept of choice and knowledge. The course will involve a lot of interaction and discussion.
Jim Laurie’s course on Biodiversity and Symbiosis addresses the role of competition in nature, while Fred Jennings’ ecological economics course will look at the role of competition in society and the damage it does to our relations, ethics, and our ecological, mental, and physical health. The case for symbiotic connections in biology resonates with a strong case for cooperation in an economics securely in touch with its ecological life-support systems. Our civilization is facing a Climate Emergency due in large part to bad economics. This course will help you understand why.
Books used in the course:
One of the most valuable features of this course will lie in your ready access to a remarkable library of books and articles on various aspects of ecological economics assembled by Fred Jennings. This is a course that is designed to challenge you at whatever level of knowledge you have about traditional or ecological economics. There are several levels of readings:
- The Basic Readings will be discussed in class, so please read them for each week before class, to facilitate a fruitful exchange of views; these selections are not complex so can be read quite quickly;
- Next there will be Text Readings from Daly and Farley and Other Sources that are not required, but are recommended for those who want to gain a better grasp of formal ecological economics teachings;
- Third, there will be Additional Readings of Relevance listed each week, for any of you who wish to go deeper into any of these important topics.
- Fourth, you will find on the Bio4Climate Google Drive for this course two sets of additional readings:
- A folder entitled SPECIFIC PAPERS AND ARTICLES chock full of interesting and relevant items that will allow you an opportunity to read much further into any topic of interest to you;
- Another folder entitled GENERAL READINGS which contains a whole library of full-length books on related topics of great interest that you are welcome to browse through at your leisure!
Whether you enrolled in my 2021 course called “An Introduction to Ecological Economics” or not, you are very welcome to sign up for this revised course if you are curious about why our social system has had so destructive effects on our social well-being and ecological health. By doing so, you will be joining a community of people with an insatiable passion for learning and a ranging curiosity that just won’t quit! We will all learn new things together, as the course proceeds. And if you’re short of funds, don’t worry! Bio4Climate does not deny anyone access to its events due to financial limitations. A sliding scale of prices is available, as are scholarship options.