Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics | University Austral de Chile - PEP - Promoting Economic Pluralism

Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics | University Austral de Chile

The programme is one of the few master degrees in South America where one can earn a Master's degree in Economics in a heterodox tradition. Our master founded under the vision of professor Manfred Max Neef aims to prepare professionals to address development problems with transdisciplinary visions and methods, aware of the complexity of the world.

How does the programme provide content to ensure students achieve an understanding of a reasonably diverse set of perspectives on understanding economies?

The Master’s degree focuses directly on the interplay between the ecological and economic spheres. This transdisciplinary vision understands that development is not related only to economic growth, but is the result of improving people's quality of life, which depends on the adequate satisfaction of fundamental human needs (NFH). This framework combines universal aspects of the human condition, such as its fundamental needs with local and territorial visions. The programme was created under the vision of Professor Manfred Max Neef, Chilean intellectual, economist, environmentalist, politician and winner of the Right Livelihood Award in 1983, who was awarded for "revitalizing small and medium-sized communities through the 'Barefoot Economy'". 

How does the programme ensure students understand the interaction between economic and ecological systems?

The master degree includes various courses in ecological economics, which instead of understanding the economy as a closed system on itself, without relationships with any other system and forming part of a larger and finite system that is the biosphere, therefore, dependent on the laws of thermodynamics and the ecosystems services provided by the nature, configuring ecological and biological balances. Professor Manfred Max-Neef made various contributions to this theory, published in his reference journal (Ecological Economics) and was awarded with the highest distinction of this scientific association the Kenneth Boulding Award in August 2008. These aspects are relevant in our course plan teaching different visions of economics and taking into account the urgency of ecological solutions. The master degree includes various courses in ecological economics, which instead of understanding the economy as a closed system on itself, without relationships with any other system and forming part of a larger and finite system that is the biosphere, therefore, dependent on the laws of thermodynamics and the ecosystems services provided by the nature, configuring ecological and biological balances. Professor Manfred Max-Neef made various contributions to this theory, published in his reference journal (Ecological Economics) and was awarded with the highest distinction of this scientific association the Kenneth Boulding Award in August 2008. These aspects are relevant in our course plan teaching different visions of economics and taking into account the urgency of ecological solutions. 

How does the programme ensure students understand how to critically explore real-world evidence, both qualitative and quantitative?

The subjects of the program are taught through face-to-face classes considering theoretical and practical sessions. The sessions consider lectures on fundamental theoretical and methodological aspects, as well as analysis of experiences and historical cases and local, national and international contingencies. Similarly, practical applications are considered through field trips and the collection of field data for treatment and analysis using quantitative and qualitative methods. The theoretical expositions of the most important contents in these contents are complemented with discussion and debates incorporating the experiences of students and teachers. Students are encouraged to participate actively in classes and to follow the indicated reading recommendations. 

What pedagogical approaches does the programme use to ensure that students examine the historical context, assumptions and values in all economic thinking?

This master considers a mixture of different pedagogical approaches, which include various theories considered from both academics and practitioners of Max-Neef’s scholarly work, such as: Ecological Economics (the effort to understand how economics is embedded in the broader ecosystem that supports all human activity) Transdisciplinary Research (a reflexive, integrative, method‐driven scientific principle aiming at the solution or transition of societal problems and concurrently of related scientific problems by differentiating and integrating knowledge from various scientific and societal bodies of knowledge) Threshold Hypothesis (decoupling growth, energy consumption, and/or environmental damage from quality of life) Barefoot Economics (points of departure from conventional approaches to economics) Human Scale Development

How does the department ensure that the teaching culture and capacity to deliver economic pluralism are continually improving?

The Faculty and the Economics Institute have since long been committed to an open and plural teaching a pluralistic vision of the economics. This openness to new visions is also expressed through the gender parity (40% of the students who entered the master's degree in 2020 were women) and the various nationalities of our students. This pluralism is reinforced through our agreement with Rigth Livelihood College Austral (RAC). Our outstanding professor Felix Fuders is also president of RLC.The Faculty and the Economics Institute have since long been committed to an open and plural teaching a pluralistic vision of the economics. This openness to new visions is also expressed through the gender parity (40% of the students who entered the master's degree in 2020 were women) and the various nationalities of our students. This pluralism is reinforced through our agreement with Rigth Livelihood College Austral (RAC). Our outstanding professor Felix Fuders is also president of RLC.

Other information:

In 2012, the Faculty created the Master degree in Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics under the direction of Professor Manfred Max-Neef. This innovative postgraduate program prepares future professionals to understand and solve emerging and complex problems of the 21st century under renewed paradigms that combine transdisciplinary perspectives. Since its inception almost 10 years ago, the students of the program have contributed to the scientific discussion and the equitable development of Latin America.In recognition of professor Max-Neef status as one of the key thinkers on developmental and ecological economics, the Institute of Economics at Universidad Austral de Chile –Max-Neef's main academic residency until his death– organized an international workshop on his work. Workshop title: Reflections on the thought of Manfred Max Neef: A Dialogue with contemporary economics 1 October 2020 - 2 October 2020 https://www.economicas.uach.cl/workshop2020/ In 2012, the Faculty created the Master degree in Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics under the direction of Professor Manfred Max-Neef. This innovative postgraduate program prepares future professionals to understand and solve emerging and complex problems of the 21st century under renewed paradigms that combine transdisciplinary perspectives. Since its inception almost 10 years ago, the students of the program have contributed to the scientific discussion and the equitable development of Latin America.In recognition of professor Max-Neef status as one of the key thinkers on developmental and ecological economics, the Institute of Economics at Universidad Austral de Chile –Max-Neef's main academic residency until his death– organized an international workshop on his work. Workshop title: Reflections on the thought of Manfred Max Neef: A Dialogue with contemporary economics 1 October 2020 - 2 October 2020 https://www.economicas.uach.cl/workshop2020/ 

Country:

Chile

University:

University Austral de Chile

Course name:

Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics

Department/school:

Course level:

Taught Masters

Course language:

Spanish

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Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics | University Austral de Chile

Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics