Act: Inspiration

Jon Erickson: “Illusions, Power and the Political Economy”

November 16, 2022

(Conversation Recorded on October 6, 2022.)

On this episode, Nate is joined by Sustainability Science and Policy Professor Jon Erickson. He and Nate dive into Jon’s new book The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming our Future from the Fairytale of Economics, which covers the economic myths that have shaped our modern reality. How can we reshape the narrative and shift the paradigm towards different economic systems that promote human and ecological well-being over material consumption?

About Jon Erickson

Jon Erickson is the David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy at the University of Vermont. He has published widely on energy & climate change policy, land conservation, watershed planning, environmental public health, and the theory and practice of ecological economics. He advised presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on economics and energy issues.

Show Notes & Links to Learn More

00:38 – Jon Erickson Works, Info + Newest Book – The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming our Future from the Fairytale of Economics

05:12Isolationism and Reductionism

07:17 University trends towards more progressive ideas

08:16E.O. WilsonConsilience

11:57Evolutionary biology

13:44Neoclassical economicsutility

15:35 Heterodox Economics, Orthodox Economics

16:02Ecological Economics

17:38Economics attempts to become Newtonian

18:32John Kenneth Galbraith

19:10Carbon Pulse

19:29Deep Time Graphic

21:45 Michael Douglas speech in the movie “Wall Street

23:05Economics, Ecology, EthicsHerman Daly

24:11 The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming our Future from the Fairytale of Economics

24:35The field of Ecological Economics is very young

30:45 Nate’s Superorganism paper

32:20Donella Meadows Shifting the Paradigm

35:38 Conservative movement funded the academy starting in the 50s

36:40Josh FarleyCircular Firing Squad

36:48Bernie Sanders

37:14Bernie Sanders record for amendments on bills

38:28Marxism, Socialism

39:10The US Economy is built on the tradition of democratic socialism

39:17Gar Alperovitz, democratization of wealth

40:40Autocratic Socialism

40:45Martin Luther King – Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor

42:40 Henry George, Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation

43:06The Econocene, Richard Norgaard

44:08Occupy Wall Street, Walk out of Gregory Mankiw’s class at Harvard

46:23Alfred KahnTyranny of Small Decisions

47:14Shifting Baselines

49:16Stages of growth in a forest

52:09Nordhaus – Nobel Prize in Economics Winner

54:01: Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang 

59:25People were drawn to both Sanders and Trump because of anti-establishmentarianism

1:00:57 Timothée Parrique + TGS Podcast

1:04:40Seeing someone else do altruistic things makes us 300% more likely to be altruistic

1:05:08Josh Farley (TGS Episode)

1:08:01Frankly Series

1:09:20David Christian, Big History

1:11:35Dan Kahan study at Yale University (climate science acceptability)

1:14:58The Invisible Gorilla Video


Teaser photo credit: Kings’ Fairy Tale, 1909, by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis By Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis –, Public Domain,

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.

Tags: ecological economics