Ethics for a sustainable economy

Bio Inspired Innovation
Green and Blue Lecture Hall, UMCU
Em Prof Bart Nooteboom

Please note this LS seminar is on Tuesday December 13th.

Em Professor Bart Nooteboom
Tilburg University
CV and more information about prof Nooteboon can be found on

Why is a sustainable economy so difficult to achieve? Pollution is what economists call an externality. Can this be solved by selling emission rights? That avoids rather than establishes ethics. Economics is based on a utility ethic. We need a shift to a virtue ethics. There are also other reasons for it, such as more humane relationships (often seen as sustainability in a wider sense). Among other things, this requires that we look not only at the extrinsic, instrumental utility of nature and relationships but also at their intrinsic value, value for themselves. For human conduct, we can also learn from nature. Life in nature does not seek to conquer and subdue, but to yield and bend to forces surrounding it. That conserves energy and contributes to survival. In Eastern (Tao) philosophy that is recognized in the principle of WuWei. Seek symbiosis and collaboration, in both nature and society. 

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