A Systems Approach for Addressing the Crisis in Employment and Consumer Demand

 

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar SeriesNicholas A. Ashford, PhD

Nicholas A. Ashford, PhD., JD
Professor of Technology and Policy
Director, MIT Technology and Law Program

Date: March 19, 2012

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About the Presentation

A sustainable industrial system depends not only on good environmental and public health outcomes, but also on sustainable employment and earning capacity. These concerns are likely to dominate future national political debates, requiring changes in the nature of work and employment, and in the ownership of productive capital. Making the economy greener, while certainly necessary for long-term economic and societal survival, does not necessarily mean more and better paying jobs on a large enough scale to make serious progress to reducing unemployment and underemployment.

At present, national and global reforms are focused on improving the financial system, which is not synonymous with reforming the economic system or improving the economic status of individual citizens. The session discusses the root causes of the crisis and offers specific policies and initiatives that need to be considered to ensure sustainable employment and livelihoods in the context of a well-functioning and equitable economic system.

About the Speaker

Professor Nicholas A. Ashford teaches courses in Environmental Law, Policy, & Economics; Law, Technology, & Public Policy; and Sustainability, Trade & Environment. Ashford is a faculty associate of the Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development in the School of Engineering; the Institute for Work and Employment Research in the Sloan School of Management; and the Environmental Policy Group in the Urban Studies Department. He holds both a PhD in chemistry and a law degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received graduate education in economics. Ashford’s courses, jointly listed with ESD/Engineering, the Sloan School, and Urban Studies, draw students from all over the Institute. He has supervised graduate theses in the TPP, ESD, and SDM programs.

Ashford is the co-author of two recent textbooks/readers: Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State (2011, Yale University Press) and Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda (2008, MIT Press). He has published five additional books and several hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.

Ashford was a public member and chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health, served on the EPA Science Advisory Board, and was chairman of the Committee on Technology Innovation & Economics of the EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. Ashford is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former chair of its Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering. He served as an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cleaner Production; the Journal of Environmental Technology and Management; the Journal of Environmental Policy and Governance; and Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.