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BC3 Seminar: Essential Resources, Social Dilemmas and the Evolution of Cooperation: Paths Towards a Just and Sustainable Future
May 29, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
“Essential Resouces, Social Dlemmas and the Evolution of Cooperation: Paths Towards a Just and Sustainable Future“
Prof. Joshua Farley
Community Development and Applied Economics
University of Vermont
The past two centuries of market-driven economic growth has witnessed dramatic increases in human life spans and well-being but also the emergence of unprecedented ecological and social problems, ranging from global warming to growing inequality. The most serious of these challenges affect essential resources such as food, energy, water and ecosystem services. Many also take the form of social dilemmas, meaning that people acting in their own self-interest generate catastrophic outcomes for society as a whole. Markets are incapable of solving social dilemmas, and in an unequal world, systematically allocate essential resources towards those who need them least. Addressing these problems will require economic institutions based on cooperation and collective action at the scale of the problem. Fortunately, humans have evolved to be the most cooperative and social species on the planet, and our evolutionary history offers deep insights into how we can stimulate the cooperative efforts required to solve social dilemmas and satisfy basic needs. Unfortunately, growing partisanship and nationalism make it more difficult to achieve the national and international cooperation we require. However, the best way to heal social rifts is to work together to solve common problems, suggesting we can leverage solutions to our social dilemmas to unite hostile coalitions and lay the foundations for a more sustainable and just economy.
About the Lecturer
Joshua Farley is an ecological economist and Professor in Community Development & Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. He holds degrees in biology, International Affairs, and Agricultural and Resource Economics. His broad research interests focus on the design of economic institutions capable of balancing what is biophysically possible with what is socially, psychologically and ethically desirable. His current research focuses on the economics of essential resources, especially sustainable food systems and ecosystem services; on monetary and financial systems; and on the intersection between these domains. He is co-author with Herman Daly of Ecological Economics, Principles and Applications.
Sede Building (Room Aketxe), Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country, May 29 (2019), 12:00-13:00