Jakobsen is a professor of ecological economy at the Center for Ecological Economics and Ethics at Bodø School of Business. Many have traveled to Bodø and come enthusiastic from there after gaining insight into basic organic philosophy and economics. But does Jakobsen get to hear from other economists – and in business? Maybe, maybe not.
An alternative thinker
The only valid goal of the economy is to operate the life processes of all kinds of social and ecological systems, Jakobsen writes. There is an assertion that more and more of us are now nodding in acknowledgment. It should only be missing, according to the Climate Panel's many reports and various studies on the loss of natural diversity. There may be grounds for claiming that it is going downhill, and that the economic system is strongly complicit in it.
The consolation then is that economic systems are made by us and can be changed by us. But how? Yes, says Jakobsen, we must see society from the outside in order to say something about where we want in another world. And it is through utopias that we can do it.
Boken Ecological Economics is a result of years of study of other people's ideas as well as inspiration from contact with practitioners. This is as much a reference book as a book to read from a to z.
The only valid goal of the economy is to operate the life processes of all kinds of social and ecological systems.
40 different thinkers, in a span of 100 years, are presented with a short biography and main ideas. It's everything from Arne Næs, Albert Schweitzer and Polly Higgins to Kenneth Boulding and Herman Daly. Common to all of them is that they think big, alternative thoughts that are meant to bring the world forward, in a system that promotes both ecological, economic, social and cultural values in a healthy balance.
Jakobsen will not scare dystopias. He would rather lay the foundation utopias which is so alluring that we want such a future. He finds inspiration with one of the great thinkers of the Middle Ages, the British Thomas Moore. Moore wanted to build streets and urban spaces with good meeting places so that citizens could meet for conversation and discussion. He further argued that it was important for different religions to be represented in each city, that six hours of working day was something to strive for, and that society's overall goal was to live in harmony with nature. This is similar to what is called the transition movement, with its "slow living" – local production and also its own local currency. Some of these thoughts can be found in our only metropolis, Oslo, where the Green Party, both centrally and through different neighborhoods, tries to achieve something of the same, based on the idea that the local people themselves must take responsibility for putting in time processes for the development of the quality of life community.
Jakobsen is a thinker and finds many positive traits in both the liberalists (the dimension of freedom), the Marxists (the dimension of solidarity) and the anarchists (the self-governing communities of interest). Where do we end up? Well, in the fourth part of the book, where the main points are about an ecological economy inspired by utopian anarchism.
Jacobsen's happiness land
Modern society is trapped in an inhumane specialization that has made every individual a small wheel in a large social machinery. The ecologist and anarchist Jakobsen wants something different, where society should not only be the sum of individuals, but a whole consisting of individuals connected through collaborative networks. In Jakobsen's analysis, this can only happen through a system that has a deep ecological basic understanding.
The locals themselves must take responsibility for initiating processes to create the quality of life community.
Then it does not mean that we have a "green economy", it is a symptom-treating economy, subject to the demands of growth. One ecological economy, on the other hand, poses critical questions to the hard core of the economy and wants collaborative networks and qualitative development. The ecosystem is based on Spinoza's thoughts, it is ecocentric since the whole of Gaia is considered the overall unit of life. All living creatures have the same uncompromising value, so that no one in principle can be characterized as less valuable than others.