Portrait of Richard B. Norgaard


Beginning in 1962, in my late teens, I came to intimately know the Glen Canyon of the Colorado River, one of the most incredibly beautiful places in the world. In the company of David Brower, the archdruid of environmentalism, and other notable people who gave me perspective and hope amidst an unfolding disaster, I witnessed the gradual drowning of the Glen Canyon as it went under Lake Powell. This loss deeply shaped my life.

The natural sciences fascinate me, but nature is not the reason for our environmental problems. Our beliefs, the particular ways in which we know but do not systemically understand, and how our social organization supports individual, corporate, and collective action are the problem. Following early glimpses of this realization led me to the economics PhD program at the University of Chicago. There I found no natural distractions to acquiring an ethnographer’s understanding of the fascinating tribe of economists who soon led the neoliberal economic revolution that hastened the further destruction of people and planet. (more)