Economics of the Walk Out

Harvard Students Walk Out on Econ10 Class

It is amazing that we continue to teach the same outmoded theories of economics in our most esteemed institutions of higher learning when it is almost universally acknowledged that the economic system spawned by those economic theories is broken.

Last week a group of Harvard students said enough is enough. They walked out of their ECON10 class at Harvard to join Boston’s Occupy movement and submitted a letter to the professor which stated:

“Today, we are walking out of your class, Economics 10, in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course. We are deeply concerned about the way that this bias affects students, the University, and our greater society.

As Harvard undergraduates, we enrolled in Economics 10 hoping to gain a broad and introductory foundation of economic theory that would assist us in our various intellectual pursuits and diverse disciplines, which range from Economics, to Government, to Environmental Sciences and Public Policy, and beyond. Instead, we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today.” Read more on the walkout

David Korten Offers a Clear Vision of New Economics

David Korten’s presentation at the US Society for Ecological Economics offers a new economics, one that the students of Harvard’s Econ10 intuit is needed. In the speech, he articulates a vision for an economy that fosters ecological balance, equitable distribution, and living democracy.

Read the presentation in our resources section here.

Knitting Together the Diverse Voices of Occupation

Marsha Spencer, left, and her knitting companion at Zuccotti Park, November 5.

There are many voices of Occupy Wall Street. One is a grandmother of five, Marsha Spencer, 56, who grew up on a dairy farm in Wixom, Michigan, and moved to New York to work as a seamstress in the theatre district. She told us that all of her siblings were able to attend college on a farmer’s income but that she doubts that her grandchildren will be able to afford to.

She reports that she had not paid much attention to politics or economics until her visit to Occupy Wall Street but now has learned a lot about both. She told us she was there to represent her generation. Her list of “wants”: to abolish wars and the death penalty, create tax equity and a better America for her grandkids “please.” Read more

Journal of Applied Corporate Finance Call for Papers

Capital Institute is pleased to be collaborating with Morgan Stanley’s Journal of Applied Corporate Finance and Harvard Business School on a special JACF Issue on Sustainable Finance.

Articles will describe “a corporate strategic planning, investment, and capital structuring process that takes account of environmental, social, and governance issues with the ultimate aim of ensuring the ability of the corporation to create value for its shareholder over the long term.” The aim is to provide a bridge between economic theory, which emphasizes profit maximization, and stakeholder theory, which emphasizes the rights of stakeholders, in some cases over shareholders.

We are seeking papers from academics, practitioners or a combination of two that will yield insights for theory and practice about Sustainable Financial Management. Papers can be in-depth case studies of an individual company’s experiences and practices, comparative field research, empirical research, conceptual frameworks, or mathematical models. Deadline for the papers is March 30, 2012.

If you are interested in submitting a paper please contact any of the following: Don Chew, Editor, JACF, [email protected]; Bob Eccles, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School, [email protected]; John Fullerton, President, Capital Institute, [email protected]; or George Serafeim: Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, [email protected]