April 24: The Economics of Growth Debate

Date: Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Time: 4:00 pm to 6:00pm

Location: Given E131, UVM


If you missed this event, check out the footage of the event, courtesy of Alfred "Tuna" Snider.


VPR also covered the event on the event:  http://digital.vpr.net/post/uvm-event-examines-vermonts-new-economy 


We are all aware the economy is still healing in these post-recessionary times.  We hear a lot in the news today about waiting for growth to occur in the economy.  Meanwhile, all of us are increasingly concerned about job security and availability, government spending and taxation, as well as, rates of savings and investment.  As we all wait patiently for economic growth, we must think critically about our current systems, focusing on what works and what should be reconfigured. In thinking critically, we must ask ourselves, "Is economic growth good for people and the environment?"

The Financing the New Economy track will kick off with a debate between neoclassical and ecological economic schools of thought. The neoclassical team, Professors Arthur Woolf and Bill Gibson, will debate the ecological team, Professors Gary Flomenhoft and Josh Farley, on the resolution that 'economic growth is good for people and the environment'. Alfred "Tuna" Snider, the director of the Lawrence Debate Union, will moderate the event. The debate will be part of UVM's Earth Week lineup. All are welcome to witness what is (because of its epic nature) increasingly being referred to as "the Rumble in the Econ Jungle." 


Neoclassical School:


Arthur Woolf

Art WoolfProfessor Woolf joined the Economics Department at UVM in 1980 after receiving his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He received his undergraduate education from Cornell University, where he majored in American history. He was interested in both economics and history and wrote his dissertation in economic history, examining the impact of electrification on U.S. manufacturing in the early twentieth century.


In 1988, Professor Woolf took a leave of absence from UVM and began a three-year stint as State Economist for Governor Madeleine Kunin, where he learned first-hand about how to apply economic principles to public policy issues. When he returned to UVM in 1991, his research interests broadened to include public policy analysis, especially focused on state and local government. He spent a lot of time trying to explain economy to non-economists. During the 1990s he wrote a regular column for Vermont Magazine and is currently editor of the monthly The Vermont Economy Newsletter.

In 1999 he started The Vermont Council on Economic Education, an organization that helps Vermont teachers in grades K-12 integrate economics in their curriculum. He works closely with the Council for Economic Education.


Bill Gibson

Bill GibsonProfessor Gibson came into the University of Vermont in 1986.  He is well read as he holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. in Business Administration and a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Resource Economics, both of which are from University of California, Berkeley.  Professor Gibson has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at University of California, Berkeley, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, University of Notre Dame, as well as, at universities in Peru and Mexico.

Professor Gibson's main interest, in both his teaching and research, is building and simulating macroeconomic models for developing countries. A second area of interest is NASA, space policy and the aerospace industry. This is an outgrowth of one of the principals themes running throughout his teaching and his research, the proper relationship between the private and public sectors. In addition to his extensive academic publications, Professor Gibson has also served as a consultant to the African National Congress, the Harvard Institute for International Development, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.


Ecological School:


Gary Flomenhoft

gFloProfessor Flomenhoft has a diverse background of practical experience ranging from environmental technology and Green politics, to aerospace and systems engineering.  He received a B.S. in Production and Design from Tufts University and his Master of Public Policy/Certificate in Ecological Economics from the University of Maryland.

Professor Flomenhoft was a founding member of the Green Party of California, co-founder of the US Green Party Organizing Committee, and in 1990 and 1992 served as Policy Director and spokesperson for the first Green Party congressional campaigns in the US in Santa Barbara, California. He is co-founder and Vice-President of the non-profit Geonomy Society which is concerned with democratic rights to land and resource rents. From 1992 to 1996, Professor Flomenhoft managed two small electric vehicle companies, and ran his own EV conversion and online parts company from 1996 to 2000. From 2000 to 2001, he worked as a Program Assistant for economic development at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Professor Flomenhoft's current interests in Ecological Economics focus on three areas: renewable energy, international sustainable development, and green taxes and common assets.  His policy work focuses on implementation of green taxes and common assets in Vermont, in other words, the payment for the use of ‘the commons’ with dividends paid to all of us.


Josh Farley

Josh FarleyProfessor Farley is an ecological economist teaching courses in Community Development & Applied Economics and Public Administration.  Professor Farley holds a B.A. in Biology from Grinell College, a Certificate in Latin American Studies and a Master of International Affairs, Economic and Political Development, from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural, Resource and Managerial Economics from Cornell University.  Professor Farley’s dissertation is titled, ‘Optimal’ Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon; Theory and Policy: The Local, National, International and Intergenerational Viewpoints.


Professor Farley has previously served as Program Director at the School for Field Studies, Centre for Rainforest Studies, as Executive Director of the University of Maryland International Institute for Ecological Economics, and as adjunct faculty and licensed examiner at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.  He recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Brazil, where he served as visiting professor at the Federal Universities of Santa Catarina (UFSC) and Bahia (UFBA).


Professor Farley’s broad research interests focus on the design of an economy capable of balancing what is biophysically possible with what is socially, psychologically and ethically desirable.  Professor Farley is co-author with Herman Daly of Ecological Economics, Principles and Applications, 2nd ed. Island Press (2010).



Debate Moderator:


Alfred Snider

Dr. Alfred Charles “Tuna” Snider is the Director of the Lawrence Debate Union and the Edwin W. Lawrence Professor of Forensics at the University of Vermont. He has been at UVM since 1982. He graduated from Brown University, has an MA from Emerson College and a doctoral degree from the University of Kansas in Communication Studies.


As a debater, Dr. Snider was third at the National Debate Tournament and second at the USA Debate Tournament of Champions. He has received nearly every USA award connected with debating. He has taught debating in over 40 countries. He did radio for 17 years, hosted the Vermont Reggae Festival for 16 years and has been the host of the LDU television show FLASHPOINT for over 440 episodes. He has recently published six books, advises several governments on educational policy and is one of the world’s most renowned debate educators.