What most impressed me during this period, however, was reading his book Analytical Economics. Issues and Problems (Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press, 1967), in whose preface Paul Samuelson, Georgescu’s colleague at Harvard, classifies him as an “economist's economist.” Nature was not being taken into account in the work of the conventional economist. To realize this and read Georgescu-Roegen only whetted my curiosity about examining the economy from the viewpoint of ecology. It coincided that in my months of Vanderbilt, I read a very good book by Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1956). The reading led me to think about the content of the reflection of Fromm, that is, if love is an art, which requires knowledge and effort, or a pleasant sensation, whose experience is a fluke, something that falls to fortune help. The book shows that love is an art. To love nature is thus an art, therefore, imposing the study of nature itself.
In the 1970s and 1980s, as a regular contributor I wrote articles in the Jornal do Brasil newspaper, of Rio, then the most important in the country. They offered a critical view of economic theory and development. In one of them I spoke about the Entropy Law in relation to economic growth. Herman Daly read it. He then wrote to me and sent some of his works. We stayed in touch ever since (I met Herman for the first time in March 1970, at Yale, where he was a visiting fellow). In 1983, I organized a course at the annual meeting of SBPC (the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science) in Belém (state of Pará), called, for lack of a better title, ‘The Economics of the 80s”. To teach it with me, I invited as lecturers, Herman, and two dissident economists: my former student Cristovam Buarque (a Brazilian senator at present, and former minister of education and rector of the University of Brasília) and Dirceu Pessoa (1937-1987), with whom I wrote a book in the 1960s. It was a success, attended by about 50 students, including Amélia Rodrigues Enríquez, who then studied economics and later turned into an ecological economist, even becoming president of the Brazilian Society for Ecological Economics (ECOECO) in 2010-2013.
In May 1990, invited by the organizers, I participated as a speaker in the First Meeting of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) in Washington, DC (USA). Following the Washington meeting, a workshop took place at Wye Island (Maryland), bringing together around 25 people (Kenneth Boulding, Herman Daly, Joan Martínez Alier, Richard Norgaard, John Proops, Garrett Hardin, Bob Costanza, Enzo Tiezzi, Silvio Funtowicz, among them). I was honored to attend the seminar, which resulted in the book by Costanza and Joyce Bartholomew (eds.) Ecological Economics: the Science and Management of Sustainability, of which I am a co-author. In the 90s, I collaborated in the establishment of ECOECO and ANPPAS (Brazil’s National Association for Research and Graduate Studies on the Environment and Society). I organized two seminars that were basic in this process. The first one, in August 1994, at Engenho Massangana (state of Pernambuco), entitled “The Economics of Sustainability”. It was attended by Peter May, Darrell Posey (1947-2001), Frank Jöst (from Reiner Manstetten’s group), Steve Viederman, Ronaldo Serôa da Motta, Eduardo Viola, Paulo Freire Vieira (a student of Ignacy Sachs), and other people. The other meeting occurred in Olinda (Pernambuco) in April 1996, with Daly, Martínez Alier, Norgaard, Cutler Cleveland, Robert Goodland, Salah El Serafy, Peter May, Posey, Karl-Erik Eriksson and more people. Two books, which I edited, resulted from these events. The second one was translated into English: The Environment, Sustainable Development and Public Policy: Building Sustainability in Brazil (Cheltenham: Elgar, 1997).
I attended all the biennial meetings of ISEE, except those of Montreal (2004) and Nairobi (2008). Of all ECOECO congresses, I missed the third one, of Belém (Pará) in 1997. As to ANPPAS’s conferences, I attended all of them. Also I got involved in the Ibero-American Network of Ecological Economics (Redibec). My desire has always been to challenge the conventional economics I learned at the university, with teachers that include the Nobel laureate James Tobin at Yale. In this, I follow what Georgescu indicates. I understand that Ecological Economics is the ecological view of the economy; it is therefore not a branch of economics. Economics means the economic view of the economy. And environmental economics is the economic vision of the environment. By the way, the first course of environmental economics in Brazil was given by me in the second half of 1975 at the undergraduate level in the Faculty of Economics of the Federal University of Pernambuco, as an elective discipline. At that time I was in the transition from being an economist to becoming an ecological economist.
|ISEE, EUA 1990|
ISSEE - Russia
Российского общества экологической экономики РОЭЭ-2017,
Петрозаводск, 4 июля 2017 года