Aug 25 • 37M

Professors Fredrik Albritton Jonsson and Carl Wennerlind Discuss They're Recently Published Book, "Scarcity: A History From the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis"

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David Introcaso, Ph.D.
Podcast interviews with health policy experts on timely subjects. The Healthcare Policy Podcast website features audio interviews with healthcare policy experts on timely topics. An online public forum routinely presenting expert healthcare policy analysis and comment is lacking. While other healthcare policy website programming exists, these typically present vested interest viewpoints or do not combine informed policy analysis with political insight or acumen. Since healthcare policy issues are typically complex, clear, reasoned, dispassionate discussion is required. These podcasts will attempt to fill this void. Among other topics this podcast will address: Implementation of the Affordable Care Act Other federal Medicare and state Medicaid health care issues Federal health care regulatory oversight, moreover CMS and the FDA Healthcare research Private sector healthcare delivery reforms including access, reimbursement and quality issues Public health issues including the social determinants of health Listeners are welcomed to share their program comments and suggest programming ideas. Comments made by the interviewees are strictly their own and do not represent those of their affiliated organization/s.
Episode details

Professors Albritton Jonsson and Wennerlind’s recently published book, “Scarcity” by Harvard University Press, offers interpretations of a key concept in economic theory: scarcity, or the belief we live in a world of limited resources and therefore must master the natural world to meet desired needs.   The authors state, “the book does not offer a critique of the usefulness of the neoclassical concept of scarcity, instead, the problem we highlight is that it has been far too successful,” that is “by promoting optimal use of resources and maximum economic growth, it has fostered a world in which the economy and nature are on a collision course.”  As a result our economic success has endangered both our health and survival via the use of fossil fuels to power our economy.  

This 37-minute interview begins with brief descriptions of two umbrella categories of scarcity the authors define: Cornucopian; and, Finitarian. They identify subcategories within these two categories and thinkers throughout history who can be categorized into sub-categories of scarcity of, e.g., enlightened, capitalist and neoclassical and neo-Aristotelian, Utopian, Malthusian, Romantic, Socialist and Planetary. The authors comment on Diamandis and Kotler’s argument regarding negativity bias. They discuss the benefit of taking a long view, here 500 years, to free today’s thinkers of taking alternative views of the world to challenge current dominate neoclassical view of scarcity and economics and discuss the book concluding on the the concept of repair.

Frederik Albritton Jonsson is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago and Carl Wennerlind is a Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Barnard College at Columbia University.

The authors bios are at: and and

Information on the book can be found at: