A New Economics for a New Economy

A life serving New Economy requires the support of a New Economics rooted in both science and values in order to provide the institutional models and policy tools essential to implementation.

About the Discussion

It has long been evident that the economic theories most solidly entrenched in academic and policy circles lack scientific and moral foundations and bear major responsibility for an economic system that self-organizes toward economic instability, extreme inequality, environmental destruction, and political corruption. To date, however, the powerful interests served by these theories have easily deflected criticism, in part because there is no recognized alternative set of theories and tools to guide economic teaching and policymaking. The discipline of Economics, how it needs a serious restructuring, and what a New Economics may entail, are all the foci of this New Economy Transition (NET) session.

While many have been challenging the intellectual legitimacy and relevance of conventional Economics, the sub-discipline of Ecological Economics has been participating in the critique for decades. However, the waning power of the critiques of Ecological Economics is considered in this session as several presenters consider how and when these sub-disciplines got off course in their search for big changes in economics.

John Cavanagh, Co-Chair of the New Economy Working Group, opens the discussion with several probing questions about the discipline of Economics. Then David Korten, Co-Chair of the New Economy Working Group, describes the critical flaws in mainstream economics and calls for the development of an economics for the entire Earth Community Household. Neva R. Goodwin, Co-Director of the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University, offers specific ways the discipline needs to change, both in content and methodology. Jon D. Erickson, Professor at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources of the University of Vermont discusses Economics as a life science, followed by Peter Brown, Professor at McGill School of Environment, who comes to this issue with a sense of crisis. To conclude, Robert Johnson, President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, emphasizes the importance of reaching people’s emotions in order to incite change within a discipline that desperately needs a real transformation.

Suggested Background Readings

Agenda for a New Economy by David Korten

Highlights from the Forum at Union Theological Seminary (referenced by John Cavanagh in the NET session)

Ethics for Economics in the Anthropocene by Peter G. Brown

Presidential address, 2011 U.S. Society for Ecological Economics by Jon D. Erickson

From Outer Circle to Center Stage: The Maturation of Heterodox Economics by Neva Goodwin

A Living World Economy Needs a Living World Economics by David Korten

Brother, Can You Spare Me a Planet by Robert Nadeau

Economists: A Profession at Sea by Robert Johnson

YouTube Playlist


The Minutes for this NET Session

These minutes (PDF) contain not only the presentations shown in the main video above, but also question and answer sessions that took place throughout the session.

Additional Resources

On Economics as a Life Science by Herman Daly

Ecological Economics: Principles And Applications by Herman Daly and Joshua Farley (buy it here)

Taking Ecological Economics Seriously by David Korten

Why Mainstream Economic Theory is a Program for Ecological Disaster by Robert Nadeau (More by Nadeau here)

Clueless Economists, Smart Ecologists by David Korten

The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability by Gus Speth

*DRAFT* A Living World Economy Needs a Living World Economics

Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene by the Capital Institute (mentioned in Q&A period by John Fullerton)

The Laughter at the Heart of Things: Selected Essays by Helen Luke (writer mentioned by Robert Johnson)

Story of Stuff, a video by Annie Leonard

For questions and comments, see the forum for this NET Session

                                                             Part of the NET Discussion series