Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Why Aristotle would own a surfboard

Why Aristotle would own a surfboard

There aren’t many situations where the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle would be paired with a surfboard.

But Professor Christoph Schumacher chose the title ‘Why Aristotle would own a surfboard’ for his professorial lecture next week because he wants to inject an element of humour to his presentation.

The lecture series invites the public onto Massey University’s Albany campus to hear the university’s leading thinkers speak. Professor Schumacher’s lecture takes place on March 27, and is an unexpected topic for a theoretical micro-economist.

“I saw this professorial lecture as a chance to say what I’ve really wanted to say for years,” Professor Schumacher says. “Our current economic mantra is always about growth, but continuous economic growth is not environmentally sustainable, and it is not making us happy.”

Professor Schumacher says Aristotle had a lot of sensible things to say about the way people should live their lives. “For Aristotle, the purpose of human existence was ‘the good life’. The surfboard is really a metaphor for all those things we enjoy in life but often don’t have time to do.”

In his lecture, Professor Schumacher asks one of the big questions of our time: Should we be aiming for continual economic growth within a finite environment?

“There’s not a single country on this planet that doesn’t have economic growth as one of its key targets. But we have to stop and ask ourselves why.

“The drive for greater growth and productivity is depleting our resources without satisfying our material desires. I’ve linked current GDP growth with various happiness surveys and found the more we grow our national wealth, the less happy we become.”

Professor Schumacher points to the unfulfilled predictions of John Maynard Keynes, one of history’s most celebrated economists, as an example of where the modern world has got it all wrong. Back in 1930 Keynes predicted that increases in productivity and efficiency would lead to a 15-hour working week, and people would choose to have far more leisure time.

Of course the opposite has happened – people are working longer hours than ever before, with expectations that services are available 24 hours per day.

“Economic growth should only be a means to a better life; it shouldn’t be an end unto itself. And it doesn’t make us better people. We accumulate a lot of material things, that is all,” he says.

“My favourite quote comes from British ecological economist Tim Jackson: ‘Our problem is we are persuaded to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to make impressions that won’t last, on people we don’t care about.’ That’s it in a nutshell.

“And New Zealanders are right at the top of that list – our credit card debt is one of the highest in the OECD.”

Professor Schumacher also argues the case for a system that distributes wealth more evenly. “We have a moral obligation to share more because we really don’t share very well. Under our current economic system we generate more wealth, but it goes into the same pockets.”

In his lecture he says he’ll pose some suggestions, including a shorter working week, which might encourage a better way of living for a greater number of people. “I don’t have all the answers, but I think it’s a subject that’s worth at least an hour of consideration. At the very least, I want the lecture to be thought provoking.”

Event details:

Date: Wednesday March 27, 2013
Time: 6.00-7.30pm (Lecture commences at 6.30pm)
Venue: Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatres, Albany campus, Massey University


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

8 October: Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour Coming To Auckland!

Dainty Group announced today that global superstar Miley Cyrus will bring her BANGERZ TOUR to New Zealand in October this year. This will be Miley’s first ever visit to New Zealand and there will only be one Auckland show before she takes her tour to Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Music: Lorde NZ Tour Confirmed In Four Major Cities!

In what will be her first ever New Zealand headline tour, Frontier Touring and Brent Eccles Entertainment are stoked to bring you four epic shows across the country! The all ages concerts take place late October/ early November in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Poor Economics

A review of and excerpt from Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple’s Child Poverty in New Zealand. More>>

Head Count: Highest Population Growth Since 2003

The country’s population grew by 67,800 people, or 1.5 percent, in the year to 30 June 2014. This came from natural increase (births minus deaths) of 29,500 and net migration (arrivals minus departures) of 38,300. New Zealand's estimated resident population was 4.51 million at 30 June 2014. More>>

Fun-Enhancement: Research To Ensure Even Game For Less Skilled Players

A University of Canterbury engineering PhD student is researching sports, such as table tennis, to ensure closer games for both better and less skilled players. More>>

Werewolf: From The Lost Continent

It’s a case of better late than never for Olivier Assayas’ marvellous After May/Apres Mai, which first screened at Venice in 2012, got a theatrical release in Australia – but not here – and only now appears on DVD, after Assayas himself has moved on. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Blue Eyed & Soulful

Last year’s Muscle Shoals documentary was a reminder that on some of soul music’s most hallowed tracks, the studio band consisted of a bunch of white guys from rural Alabama... More>>

ALSO:

Final Event - Number Crunching: NZ Fifth Best Performer At Commonwealth Games

With a haul of 45 medals, New Zealand has outperformed the best predictions of the world’s number crunchers by 440% and beaten our past performance at the Commonwealth Games by 11% per cent, according to a Massey University finance lecturer. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news