How Economism Became Our Religion, Apr 7

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Economism pervades our political discourse even while it is obviously false: growing and globalizing the U.S. economy have not helped the poor, lower taxes have led to collapsing bridges and poorer schools, and reducing regulations have hastened environmental destruction. These and other beliefs, or economism, have been perpetrated in the name of economics and gained credence comparable to religious beliefs. Economism has even infected the environmental sciences through the notions that ecosystems have services and nature can be thought of as capital. Religion, however, has played a complementary role. The individualism and greed of market thinking historically were countered by social gospel. Now it seems that God works through markets and prosperity gospel has become the fastest growing part of Christianity. Understanding how economism arose is necessary to move beyond it to a just and sustainable society.

Richard Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of the Energy and Resources Group (ERG), is a University of Chicago trained economist (1971) who, with the good fortune of being a part of ERG since its beginnings, expanded his understanding of human and natural systems over four decades. He both ponders philosophically and provides practical advice on scientific panels at the policy interface. He is among the founders and has been President of the International Society for Ecological Economics, has been one of the world’s 1000 most cited economists, has co-taught with theologians, and is currently the social science and water editor of Earth’s Future.

The event is free and open to the public.

Please note that there will be a pre-event panel discussion of Professor Norgaard’s work scheduled earlier on the day of the lecture. Please contact ERG Manager Megan Amaral at if you’d like more information.

Pre-lecture Panel

PANEL: Astrid Scholz (moderator), Jane Hall, Richard Howarth, Michael Kiparsky, Jalel Sager, and Dan Smith; with special guests Richard Hayes and Darwin Hall.
DATE: Thursday, April 7th 2016
TIME: 3:00 – 4:30pm - reception with light refreshments to follow
LOCATION: Faculty Club, Heyn's Room