Date: August 22nd, 2008
Cate: on this blog

Towards a resilience economics – some thoughts before the journey

Why do I want to develop a resilience economics and why do I use a blog as my tool to achieve this?

First, I feel a professional need to revisit what I learned during my studies of economics which started pretty much exactly twenty years ago. While I don’t think I ever stood still in my professional development, a host of open questions seems to have accumulated over the years. Some of these point to first things, to the basic assumptions of economics and to its purposes.

My second motivator is a deep concern about the state of humanity and its likely future. I read the signs as indicating the increased probability of systemic failure and collapses caused by a convergence of crises that humanity seems to be struggling to address appropriately. In this I don’t overlook the dark sides of the present with its crass social inequality and wide-ranging destruction of nature, nor do I give up hope. Quite the opposite: today’s social and ecological problems are closely linked to the threat of humanity’s failure as part of that one planetary ecology. And I continue to keep an open mind on our prospects. I just think that the odds are moving against us and that this warrants preparation for the possible bad case scenarios – in economic thinking as much as in real life.

Arising from all this is the gut feeling that the efforts of ecological economics, development economics, environmental economics need to be supplemented with some more thinking on “How will we cope?”. Prevention should continue to have priority but in a highly geared, interconnected and complex world with the odd free-rider or disoriented prisoner in their self-built dilemmas still around, reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience should not be overlooked when working towards human welfare.

I am blogging about resilience economics because I am convinced that others will be on this very same journey. Hopefully, in due time our paths will cross and the exchange of ideas and insights will be mutually stimulating and give guidance for further stages of the journey. And while this effort is really just aiming to develop my own, homemade resilience economics, if it can contribute something to the wider discussion, all the better.

My approach will be iterative. I will be revisiting earlier statements in the light of new findings and insights. Which means that nothing here is meant to ever be finished or ready to be cast in stone. The blog should be playful, too. This is a learning endeavour and what better way to learn than to play with ideas. Hopefully, some ‘peer-reviewers’ out there will want to join in and leave their play- and thoughtful comments. Off we go!

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