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Practical Economics for the Anthropocene: Education for Resilience

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

Nancy Lee Wood


Bristol Community College

Fall River, MA


Sustainability Studies from a Social Science perspective is an emerging field and thus, has no traditional nor universal course requirements.  Bristol Community College has created both an Associate Degree and a Certificate Sustainability Studies Program which has as its starting point - and woven throughout its curriculum - the unsustainability of continuous economic growth as is endemic to corporate capitalism, especially in the face of ecological destruction, resource depletions and climate disruptions. Within this track of study is a course specifically focused on Sustainable Economics: The Rise of the New Economyin which students explore the character and practices needed to establish a steady-state economy.  Practical and grassroots in its orientation, this course emphasizes relocalized economic activity taking as examples the development of worker cooperatives, local banks and credit unions, micro-lending schemes, local currencies, time banks, community supported agriculture, repair shops, and tool-machine-household item libraries. The theme throughout the course – and the program – is the need for reduction-minded consumption, reestablishment of community and its networks, and enhanced quality of life through “being” rather than “having.”  While this course is new and undoubtedly in need of adjustments, it is a beginning in rethinking “economy” toward resilience in a resource constrained world. 

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