Ecological Economies

This saturday, I went to a lecture held by Ove Jakobsen, professor at Bodo Graduate School of Business. The title of his lecture was “Ecological Economies – Well-being and Sustainability” which sounded quite promising. In the discussion about the importance of a change in design thinking and the important role of design for world’s future, I often miss a look outside our own profession. So I took a deep breath and mingled with business people :-)

Unfortunately, the lecture was in norwegian, so I didn’t understand everything (please tell me, if you think I’m writing something completely wrong). Jakobsen gave an interesting overview of Ecological Economies – which is a “new”, transdisciplinary field of study that addresses the relationships between ecosystems and economic systems. Ecological economies is based on the principle of relativity (meaning that everything is related to everything else) and an organic worldview (instead of a mechanical worldview which is quite dominant in modern culture). Ecological economies questions global capitalism and says that we need a deep, systemic change.

Jakobsen talked also about growth in general. He said that growth is a characteristic of live and that a society which doesn’t grow will sooner or later die. But he also said that growth is not linear and unlimited – while some parts of organisms or ecosystems grow, others decline, releasing and recycling their components which become resources for new growth. One of the major problems of capitalism is the exponential growth. Exponential growth is (seeing in a long perspective) physically impossible. But to limit that growth is politically impossible. However, the physically impossible is more impossible than the merely politically impossible. Changes have to happen on two levels: the individual (in this context, Jakobsen mentioned Voluntary Simplicity) and the global level (with international agreements and regulations).

Furthermore, Jakobsen noted that politicians and media nowadays discuss the need to transform consumption: consumption and production should become green, ethical, Co2-free, sustainable and so on – but no one ever mentions less consumption!!! Jakobsen wrote the quote But on no account whatsoever mention less consumption! with large letters on his last slide – a fantastic end and I hope that I will hear more about Ecological Economies in future :-)

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