Sustainable Environmental Economics

Instructor: Jonathan Dawson

At Ubiquity, we recognise, in the words of Victorian English polymath, John Ruskin, that ‘there is no wealth but life’. We stand at a critical moment in human history. New insights from natural sciences reveal the vibrantly alive nature of the world in which we live; a pulsing, living planet rather than the assembly of dull and inert matter of ‘natural resources’ of which conventional, reductionist science and economics speaks. The most urgent – and thrilling – task of our age is to translate these new insights into the redesign of social and economic systems that can enable us to thrive and flourish.... while remaining within our planetary means. At the heart of the course, then, is this exploration of what we can learn from nature (including human nature) that can throw light on the design principles underlying low-impact, just, resilient social and economic systems.

Course Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to understand:

  1. Provide a coherent critique of today’s dominant neoclassical economic theory and practice.
  2. Identify and explain the core conceptual framework and models underpinning ecological economics.
  3. Locate the new emerging field of ecological economics within the conceptual context of recent insights in holistic science (Gaia theory, complexity, neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, etc.).
  4. Apply insights derived from holistic science across a wide range of social and economic domains.
  5. Bring their own inner values into greater alignment with their behavior as economic actors and identify and develop ideas for their personal engagement in facilitating the transition to a more just and sustainable world.
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