summer school of feminist and ecological macroeconomics 🌿

Our GLOCAL cohort (2020-2022) was supposed to go to Gdansk in Poland for our Summer School. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and imposed restrictions, the consortium had to give up its plans for this event. As an alternative, I came across the first Summer Crash Course on Ecological and Feminist Macroeconomics, an online gathering organised by the School of Economics of Universitat de Barcelona (UB), and I decided to register for it. The course took a whole week in mid-July and had a rich programme with 10 recorded lectures, 6 live sessions, in addition to rich bibliography and discussion groups divided by thematic areas in which more than 300 participants from all over the world could engage with each other.

The course’s content caught my eye because it aimed at answering the question: “How can we provide a good life for all within the planetary boundaries?”. To answer this question, the organisers brought together renowned scholars from ecological and feminist economics so that they could find synergies between these two heterodox schools of thought, proposing interesting debates about cutting-edge research concerning gender, economics, and the environment. Themes like ‘care economy’, post-growth/degrowth* and macroeconomic modelling were presented in an intense format of lecture-paper-discussion. We interacted with the speakers by posing written questions during the live sessions, that were organised as ‘debates’ between two researchers in which they commented on each other’s works. We could also take part in discussion groups, and I chose to enrol at the “Latin America” thematic group. The members were mainly recent graduates, PhD and master’s students interested in how the topics we were discussing during the school could be applied to the Latin American region.

*Difference between degrowth and post-growth is presented in Rezai, A. and Stagl, S. (2016) Ecological macroeconomics: Introduction and review. Ecological Economics 121: 181–185

Irina chose the debate group ‘Ecological economics as a business case’ where the participants elaborated on businesses cases for the private sector within ecological economics. How can we increase interest and make it relevant for the private sector (cost structures, policies)? What could business cases look like? Are there other good examples from other countries?

The highlight of this experience for me was to realise the potential of combining the emerging fields of feminist and ecological economics. I say “emerging” because despite being around for a while, these two subareas of economic thought are increasingly gaining ground compared to the more mainstream economic approaches associated with the neoclassical school. I believe the content of this summer school was very much in line with what we study in our GLOCAL master programme, and it adds up to the different ways of thinking about human economic relations that we see in our different courses’ kinds of literature. A good sum-up of the whole summer school is the graphic recording of the last live session, produced by Fanny Didou, which you can see in this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSXHu6fA7H5/. In this session, the speakers were concerned with building alliances between feminist and ecological economics, and they brought up critical points that Fanny perfectly illustrated in her piece of art!

This summer school was a great opportunity to learn about alternative economic theories that are rarely represented in the university curriculum. I encourage GLOCAL colleagues to take part in this type of experience during the master’s journey. The event was inspiring hugely because of the participants: people who dedicated their life to questions of equality, care, and fair distribution of resources. 

Prepared by Daniel, pathway G 
Edited by Irina, pathway B