Citizen Action Monitor

Rules from finance and economics constrained 20th century aspirations – Nate Hagens (24)

Look for rules from natural sciences and ecology to play a more prominent role in this century.

No 2307 Posted by fw, June 19, 2018

To access links to all other posts in this series, click on the Tab titled “Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens” in the top left margin. 

In the previous post, Pt 23, continuum 22, Dr Hagens contended that our culture tends to perceive problems through a narrow boundary lens even when our challenges are clearly wide boundary.

In today’s very brief post, Pt 24, continuum 23, Hagens suggests that rules from finance and economics dominated and constrained our culture’s aspirations and approaches to problem solving. Whatever the socio-economic problem, the solution was invariably a call for more GDP growth.

In contrast, Hagens posits that rules from the natural sciences and ecology will play a leading role in advancing bold, original multidisciplinary approaches to this century’s emerging challenges.

Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 24, continuum 23, runs from 34:54 to 35:33.

Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.


Where are we going? by Nate Hagens,, May 8, 2018

TRANSCRIPT (from 34:54 to 35:33)


34:54[Continuum 23: Finance vs Ecology] Finance versus Ecology. I’m 51 years old. During my lifetime our culture has used finance, the rules of finance as what to aspire to. I think this coming century we’re going to use the words of ecology, which is looking how ecosystems work – Individual, Population, Community, Ecosystem, Biome, Biosphere – that’s going to be more of the story.


[ Supplement] Finance vs Natural Science  In the 20th century we constructed societal infrastructure and expectations on rules from finance and economics, but the rules from natural sciences and ecology: primary productivity, trophic cascades, carrying capacity, overshoot, bottlenecks, phase shifts, succession, pulses, etc. are going to be much more pertinent in the 21st.


About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.

Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.

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