(Foreword to a new book by Ove Jakobsen, Routledge, 2017)
My friend and colleague Prof. Ove Jakobsen, who teaches ecological economics at Nordland University in Bodø, Norway, just published this inspiring book to which I wrote the Foreword posted below. Ove and I also coauthored a paper titled “A Conceptual Framework for Ecological Economics Based on Systemic Principles of Life,” to be published later this year in the International Journal of Social Economics.
When we look at the state of the world today, what is most evident is the fact that the major problems of our time — energy, environment, economy, climate change, social justice — cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent, and they require corresponding systemic solutions. As Pope Francis puts it in his remarkable encyclical “Laudato Sì”:
Our common home is falling into serious disrepair… [This is] evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises, for the world’s problems cannot be analyzed or explained in isolation… It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. (Paragraphs 61, 138)
The global economy, in particular, is an integral part and, in fact, the main engine of our multi-faceted global crisis. In recent years this fact has been widely recognized, and many eloquent critiques of our current system of global capitalism have been published. However, there have been very few, if any, comprehensive narratives of an alternative economic system. In my view, this is the main achievement of the present book.