Evonomics co-founders Joe Brewer and Robert Kadar led an engaging presentation-turned-debate Wednesday morning that started with the question, “Is economics a science?”
The discussion generated from this kickoff question set the tone for the rest of the hour, where individuals from academia, finance, NGOs, and corporations engaged in rich discussion on the evolution of economics – its history, its relevance, and its future.
Brewer highlighted how current conventional economic models have been shaped by narratives and static concepts, quoting Plato: “Those who tell the stories rule society.” The prevailing narratives have been that money is sacred, centralized government is the enemy, and the world is full of individuals who are looking to increase self-interest. As a consequence, we are all living out realities based on these stories, which, while it has increased societal wealth, does not align with the sustainable changes that need to take place.
Brewer described a “quiet revolution” that has been integrating ecology and human behavior into economics. Understanding the movement away from a clockwork universe to an ecological universe is critical to evaluating economics. Brewer highlighted characteristics of an ecological universe:
Evonomics is looking to help a new era of economics bloom. One that integrates the following considerations:
- Humans matter. “There can’t be economic systems for humans that aren’t based on how humans work.”
- History matters. We need to understand the cultural narratives of how economics came into being.
- Institutions matter. Government cannot be separate from business. Everything is connected.
As Kadar stated: “Evonomics is the evolution of economics.” Evonomics’ goal is “to communicate a new economic paradigm — a synthesis of behavioral, complexity, ecological and evolutionary science — to a general audience and influential individuals and organizations.” They are trying to bring together communities of thinkers, organizations, and people who want to think about economics in a different way.
Since its launch seven months ago, Evonomics has achieved a readership of 400,000 and growing. Advisors, including Sustainable Brands CEO KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, have been an integral part of their success, Kadar said. He would like to see Evonomics content distributed through universities, businesses, corporations, and other thought leaders, as well as have more active exchanges about evolving economics, similar to the one that took place today.
To close, Brewer asked the group two key questions:
- What does it really mean to be human?
- If we’re really going to be human, then what is the purpose of an economy? What do we want to design it to do?