2016/07/27 09:05 Alec Tsoucatos, “The Economics of Care, Wisdom and Empowerment”, ISSS 2016 Boulder

Plenary @ISSSMeeting Alec Tsoucatos, Keynote #isss2016USA, 60th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences and 1st Policy Congress of ISSS, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Day 3 theme:  Cultural, Ethical, and Economic Wisdom

Plenary V: Making Sense in Economics, Ethics, and Policy

  • Description: We need to examine the foundation of our global economic system that assumes unlimited growth in a finite world, to consider the paradigms of regenerative capital, steady-state economics, and innovation. This means considering no-growth and negative-growth models, and perhaps shifting our concept of growth from quantity to quality, from extraction to investment in natural and human capital.

Chair: Mila Popovitch, University of Colorado, Boulder

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Presentation by Alec Tsoucatos, Regis University and Metro State University, Denver, Colorado


[Alec Tsoucatos]

Alec Tsoucatos, Wednesday plenary

Came in 1971 to study with Kenneth Boulder

  • Had graduated from Montana
  • Looked throughout U.S., found Boulding
  • Came to Boulder, 6 months before term, asking if should study with him in economics
  • Boulding responded:  he said the weather is very lovely in Boulder
  • Boulding had an office in a building different from the economics department

Book:  Unloved, Horage

  • We had inverted the right relationship between 3 orientations
  • Instead love –> wisdom –> power; knowledge –> power –> some consideration of the other
  • At this conference, had heard about science and mind, but need to include love
  • Do things that are good for people

Wisdom:  Traditional wisdom is different from someone who relates knowledge

  • Discriminating of knowledge useful at what time
  • Learning independently of Boulding, who also wrote on this

Use wisdom and knowledge to empower people and empower nature

  • Instead of domination
  • St. Francis:  praise be
  • Knowledge doesn’t mean praise, praise is beyond knowledge, a subset
  • An exclamation of joy, of wonder, that some scientists have (but not all)
  • Rarely seen an economist who is joyful (or a financier)

Call of Francis not only to Catholics, it’s the world

  • Why?  Because of the love of our home, the earth
  • Home has something more than a sense of knowledge
  • A connection of feeling

Ethos:  household

Lois:  law

A pattern that the people in the household need to maintain

  • The planet is our home

Politics has deteriorated

  • Aristotle thought as the queen, because we would take care of the polis, the city state, which is now the planet

Gerhard yesterday said not satisfied with sustainability, as doesn’t allow for people’s happiness

Aristotle distinguished economics from the “art of making money”, not a great thing

  • Economics was noble

General systems, can’t exclude religion, the arts, humanity

  • Different ways of knowing
  • Science as diminishing religion, consciousness as soul
  • We need to bring these elements back into the study of sustainability

Haven’t talked much about what is being taught at universities

  • Have taught in university for 48 years, both in economics and in business
  • Ossification is disturbing
  • Gave a talk last month on steady state economics, one that doesn’t grow but contributes to the thriving of people
  • Who objects?  What are obstacles to another kind, a generative economics, or steady state economics?
  • Economic departments are the primary obstacle — they’re deaf to any change
  • Similar to the inquisition:  We will not have something new!
  • If you attempt to do something new, we will do away with you!
  • Excommunication

When we’re thinking of shifting levels, changing maps that will guide us into a different mode of action, we have to be careful about being overly critical about what we’re leaving behind

  • Ken Wilber suggests transcend and include
  • Take good things from the previous system, and say not sufficient to get to the next level
  • This is the endeavour in shifting economics
  • Less that 1% of economists in the world are involved in this work
  • Some are dead economists who won’t be listened to