Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Economics for the Anthropocene

Loyola University Chicago’s third annual Climate Change Conference

Global Climate Change: Economic Challenges and Solutions
March 17–19, 2016

Economics for the Anthropocene

Ken Bagstad, Research Economist, US Geological Survey & World Bank
Ken Bagstad Presentation

Today’s economy conserves nature and responds to humanitarian crises opportunistically, through “random acts of kindness.” As economists seek to more systematically value nature, we envision a future where economic decisions protect nature take place on an everyday basis. At the same time, religious and secular ethicists argue for an economic system that values the inherent rights of people and nature, aside from their instrumental or monetary value. Are these latter two visions compatible? Can we achieve a more ethical and just world while focused just on the economic value of nature? Based on a 10-year experience “working in the trenches” of valuing nature, this presentation will ask broader questions about our ultimate economic goals at the intersection of economic and ethical frameworks.

Dr. Ken Bagstad is an ecological economist with a strong interest in developing economic tools and policies to support planetary health and social justice. He has worked with government agencies, NGOs, academics, and the private sector to understand the economic value of nature and use this information to inform better decision making in the U.S. and internationally. Through this work he has co-authored 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications. From 2012-2015, he served as a board member of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics. Ken holds a PhD in ecological economics from the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, a MS from Arizona State University, and a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University. Beyond his day job, Ken has a strong interest in bridging emerging ecological, economic, and spiritual narratives that further the movement to care for our common home.


Fundamentals of Ecological Economics: Thermodynamic Limits, Ecosystem Services, and the Economy
Maggie Winslow, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Maggie Winslow Presentation

Traditional economic models present a form of economics that is unrealistic about the economy, the environment, social institutions, and their profound interconnections. Market failures tend to be underemphasized and environmental constraints, the valuable services provided by nature, and thermodynamic limits are ignored. An alternative to these models exists within ecological economics, which expands the boundaries of the economy to encompass the ecosystem, as well as the social structures and institutions that enable markets. This systems-based approach to economics can facilitate a clearer understanding of sustainability and where we can go from here at the macroeconomic level and at the enterprise level.

Dr. Margrethe (Maggie) Winslow is Assistant Professor and Program Manager for the Master of Science in Environmental Management Program and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.  Previously, she was a professor of economics and the Academic Dean at Presidio Graduate School.  She has taught at UC Berkeley, Antioch University, the Central European University, and for the Conservation Strategy Fund.  She has also been a researcher for Redefining Progress, the Pacific Institute, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab where she worked on the economics of energy efficiency.  She has a BA in Political Science from Williams College, a MS from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, and PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley.  Her dissertation work examined the relationship between economic growth, environmental quality and democracy.  Her current research is on the valuation of ecosystem services.


Of What Story or Stories Are We A Part? Simplifying the Problem by Complexifying It
Ray Benton, PhD, Professor, Loyola University Chicago
Ray Benton Presentation

Dr. Raymond (Ray) Benton, Jr., is Professor Emeritus in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.  He joined the faculty in August 1980 and was, for fourteen years, Chair of the Department of Marketing.  He received his undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of Arizona, his Master’s degree in anthropology from Colorado State University and his PhD in economics, also from Colorado State.  He taught courses in business, economics, and anthropology in both the United States and Europe and led multiple student study trips to Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom.  His primary interest is in the study of economics and marketing as cultural/symbolic systems and environmental ethics.