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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

Who is the Economist?

As dew to a spider’s web, COVID-19 and climate change reveal interconnectedness; A global pandemic; Rising sea levels; Forest fires; Climate refugees. We can no longer claim that one country's emissions, laws, and cultural norms do not have an effect beyond their borders.

21st-century economics requires a GLOBAL and SYSTEMIC approach. It also requires you to see yourself as part of the solution. The business of economics has been left for far too long in the hands of “economists”, mostly white, Global North men. Look where that has gotten us.

My poem Who is the Economist? is an invitation for you to reclaim economics. It is an invitation for you to play your role in today’s global economy by contributing more to your flourishing, as well as the flourishing of your fellow humans, the other human beings around us, and the living earth itself.

Who is the Economist?
Della Duncan

Eco - nomics
Greek - oikos - nomos
Eco - oikos - household - home
Nomics - nomos - management
Home - management
At first - home - domestic home
Domestic, familial, home management
Later - home - national
National, nation-state - home management
Now - home - planet
Planetary, Gaia - home management
Now economics - Planetary home management

Eco - nomy
The phenomenon of planetary home managing.
What for?
Not just the meeting of human needs,
And not just the meeting human and non-human needs,
The enlivenment of all beings,
The self-realization,
The thriving,
The flourishing of all beings,
Including the living earth itself.

Econo - mist
Who manages the flourishing of all beings?
Those who deeply know our home - the ecologists, biologists, physicists, and gardeners.
Those who architect and deliver ways to manage our home. The designers, lawyers, public servants, and farmers.
Those who identify injustice and prevent further harm- the activists, journalists, advocate, and whistleblowers.
Those who heal suffering and guide us towards flourishing- the healers, psychologists, elders, mentors, and parents.
Those who challenge, provoke, and illustrate the paradigms and stories of home management- the artists, musicians, spiritual leaders, teachers, and poets.
Those who share the wisdom and love of the universe and remind us of our place in the web of life- the rivers, winds, trees, fungi, rocks, insects, and animals.

If all beings play a part in managing our home, then are we all economists?
Or is economics - a part of us all, manifesting through our own unique contribution to that flourishing?
Perhaps to be an economist is a state of intention, attention, and connection.
The moment we glimpse the big picture, wholeness, harmony,
The moment we think holistically and systemically,
The moment we appreciate the contributions of all beings to our flourishing,
The moment we sense into the condition of our home managing, the qualities, the emergent properties.
When we feel the suffering, the joy, the dis-ease, and the hope coming through the tugs in the web of life.

To be an economist is to respond each, in our own way, with our gifts, our shadows, and our histories,
To live for a locus beyond oneself,
To act on behalf of the living whole for the flourishing of all beings.
To be an abundance manager,
An eco-sattva,
A life protector,
A life-enabler,
And above all, a humble member in the co-creation of our shared journey in this moment of this universe.

Fala português? This poem was translated into Portuguese by fellow renegade economist Lúcio Proença, Quem É O Economista?

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, the International Inequalities Institute, or the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Della Duncan AFSEE

Della Duncan

Renegade Economist

Della Duncan is an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity, a renegade economist and the Host and Producer of the Upstream Podcast, a podcast that challenges mainstream economic thinking through documentaries and conversations. She is interested in questioning and challenging mainstream economic ideology and contributing to systems change for a more equitable, sustainable and enlivened world.

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