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A Research Agenda For Biophysical Economics: Filling in the Missing Pieces

Garvin Boyle

timately, the implicit goal of ISBPE must be to develop a science of economics that commands wide respect and brings the global domination of neoclassical economic theories to an end. Such a new science must be consistent with the currently known and emerging principles of science, consistent with relevant empirical evidence, and consistent with the widely held hopes for a just and lasting future for humankind. We have a very long way to go to achieve this goal. We need to articulate that goal in more detail, identify the missing pieces of such a science, and focus our energy and our intellects on developing those pieces. Drawing inspiration from the recent paper by Professor Xi Ji of Peking university, which contains the broad strokes of such an agenda, we can begin the process of identifying some of the specific pieces that are needed, and, at the same time, we can scour the modern sciences and other contemporary and historic sources for insights and inspiration that have, until now, been largely neglected by neoclassical economists. First and foremost, we must address the elephant in the room. A shrinking economy is an inevitable condition of our future existence. We do not have a viable theory of money that will work in a steady-state or shrinking economy. Then, following the path indicated by Professor Xi, in place of the principles, tools and techniques of NCE, we must a) articulate the fundamental principles of an economic science, b) we must develop an economic theory consistent with those principles, and c) we must work to develop the tools and techniques that embody those principles, that will be taught to future economic students in universities around the world, and that will be used by analysts in the government departments and corporate headquarters of the world. We will know when we have attained that lofty goal when the first degree-holding graduate of economic science is hired as CFO of a major corporation.

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