A Proposed Framework for Rebooting the Study of Economics

Event Status

This week at the UT Energy Symposium, Garvin Boyle will give a talk titled "A Proposed Framework for Rebooting the Study of Economics."

Garvin H Boyle was born in 1950 and designed his first computer model of a dynamic system at age 16, beginning what was to become a life-long hobby.  November of 2017 marks 50 years that he has been building such models in pursuit of this hobby.  His working career spanned two areas: a high-school teacher of mathematics and science, and an information technology systems analyst and project manager designing and installing computer systems.  His clients in IT project management included various departments of the Canadian federal government, as well as major telephone companies during the early days of the internet.  Retired since 2008, he spends his time now studying the problem of sustainability of the modern version of civilization.  He associates most closely with the proponents of the heterodox economic theories of “Ecological Economics” (championed by Herman E Daly) and “Biophysical Economics” (championed by Charles A S Hall). 

Abstract: Modern orthodox economic theory has its roots in the circumstances that existed in Europe and North America during the period 1700-1970.  This period saw the first appearance of many technical marvels including the previously impossible exploitation of immense quantities of fossil fuels.  At the same time, the global population swelled from approximately 650 million people to over 3.7 billion people.  In that sweep of history, amid all of the chaos, civilization followed a grand predictable course.  But since 1970 something has changed dramatically – the past can no longer predict the future and modern economic theory seems to be unable to explain current economic problems or suggest credible solutions. 

In this presentation, the role of paradigms (as per Thomas S Kuhn) will first be discussed briefly.  Then the proposed framework for rebooting the study of the dynamics of economic systems will be presented.  The concepts arise chiefly from the works of Herman E Daly (Ecological Economics), Charles A S Hall (Biophysical Economist) and Victor M Yakovenko (Econophysics).  Major components of the proposed framework will be discussed, along with insights from relevant economic agent-based models created by the presenter and others.  The need is urgent, but as Kuhn would suggest, much of the work has already been done by the practitioners of chemistry, statistical mechanics, philosophy and many other disciplines of study apart from economics. 

The UT Energy Symposium meets every Thursday during the long semesters. Come early to attend a networking session before the talk: refreshments will be served at 4:45 p.m. in the POB Connector Lobby outside the auditorium.

Sessions are recorded and available here.

Date and Time
March 22, 2018, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302 | 201 E 24th St, Austin TX, 78712
Event tags
UT Energy Symposium