Meadowlark Economics


Global warming threatens the extinction of life on Earth. It can no longer be a question of the economy or the environment. We can all have “enough,” and we can all do more to help the environment. But if we don’t do both – we will have neither.

Professor Eggert’s thought-provoking new book, “Meadowlark Economics: Exploring Values for a Sustainable Future” (revised) (copyright 2015; Booklocker Inc.) contains 20 essays and uses the meadowlark as a symbol for what has gone wrong with our economy and as a symbol of what is essential to our existence.

Alarmed by the gradual disappearance of the meadowlark from his local countryside, Professor Eggert began to examine both the economic and ecological factors at work. His investigation soon led him to explore alternatives to our traditional views of economics.

Professor Eggert writes: “Considering the problems we face in our immediate and long-run futures – and the slow evolution of economic values we are seeing in response – I sometimes wonder about the relevancy of my fellow economists. Among our shortcomings is our limited understanding of the many ecological consequences of our economic decisions.

Note that “economics” and “ecology” have the same prefix – eco – from the Greek oikos, which literally means “house-hold.” The original definition of economics therefore implied a careful stewardship of household resources, whereas ecology compels us to try to understand and appreciate the interrelation-ships within Nature’s “household.”

I believe these two households are becoming more inter-dependent and their futures more and more intimately linked. When we fail to calculate ecological values or see the connections, we pave the way for losses that are both unintended and unwanted.

One example (on a small scale, to be sure) is occurring in and around our dairy farming region of the upper Midwest. We are losing our meadowlarks!

Those of us who walk, bike, or jog along our rural roads enjoy the few meadowlarks that are left. Their song is pleasing, their color and swoop-of-flight enchanting. The complete disappearance of meadowlarks would, plain and simple, be ethically wrong, and would also diminish the quality and richness of our lives.

Why are we losing our meadowlarks?”

In addition to “Meadowlark Economics,” which examines the value of the meadowlark and how we can all be meadowlark economists, the book includes “Thoreau as Economic Prophet,” “”Topsoil Drama,” Darwin’s Finches and Ford’s Mustangs,” “Then the Sun Came Up,” “Craftsmanship and Salvation,” and “The Coming Repair Age.”

James Eggert is a writer and emeritus faculty member of the University of Wisconsin – Stout where he taught undergraduate students for 33 years. He also is the author of “What is Economics (fourth edition),” “Invitation to Economics,” “Low-Cost Earth Shelters,” and “The Wonder of the Tao.”

“Meadowlark Economics: Exploring Values for a Sustainable Future” ($13.95 for print and $5.99 for the e-book version) is available at all online book sellers or can be ordered through any brick and mortar bookstore.



Source by LeAnn Ralph