Writing | Richard B. Norgaard
Throughout my academic life, I have had difficulty focusing on anything. In 1975, the stack of publications for my tenure review committee included articles on fluvial geomorphology, petroleum scarcity and new technology, and the economics of Alaska petroleum development, pesticide use, offshore petroleum leasing, and California water development as well as a theoretical model of the equity implications of assigning environmental rights to polluters or pollutees given transactions costs. I received tenure early, but was informed by my department chair that I needed to decide upon a specialty. Fortunately, my middle finger was under the table between us, and a few years later I was in Brazil studying sustainable development before the term arose and also this put me ahead of the wave of interest in tropical forests, biodiversity loss, and indigenous knowledge. Unfortunately, my department chair was correct within the institutional limits of a modern university. With my learning and writing expanding in ever new directions, it was another 17 years before I was promoted to full professor.
Currently I am writing a book on American Economism as well as articles driven by my concern with how societies will cope with rapid environmental change and surprise associated with the Anthropocene, or what I prefer to call the Econocene, since the problem is primarily associated with how modern economies have facilitated the massive acceleration of energy and material use. I have had the privilege to work in this millennium with natural scientists on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the 5th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the State of California’s Delta Independent Science Board. At the same time, I have had the privilege of working with theologians at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley as well as through connections to Yale Divinity School and Claremont School of Theology. And yet, because economics has posed as a bridge between reality and morality for public philosophy and practical decision-making, my original training in economics continues to serve me well as a way of understanding how modernity has gone wrong.
This section of my website includes invited and peer reviewed writing. Please go to my CV which includes a complete list of all of my writing.