Questioning Econ101

Seminar Jan 16 - 18

This seminar, primarily for college and university students, examines assumptions in introductory economics in relation to the principles of the Baha'i Faith. Students with a spiritual perspective sometimes experience a disconnect between the worldview of economics and principles such as the oneness of humankind, the harmony between science and religion, the spiritual dimension of human reality, and the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty. The content of these widely-taken courses have been called into question by students, faculty, economists and other thinkers in recent years, and studies have found that they instill in students individualistic and self-interested ways of thinking. Introductory economics crystallizes a simplified version of economic thought that is current in university, policy, and public conversations, raising the question of how it shapes social choices that sustain inequality, environmental degradation, and other lamentably defective aspects of the current social order. Drawing on knowledge from both the discipline of economics and the Baha'i teachings, this seminar seeks to explore in a consultative environment how we can both appreciate and question the typical introductory economics course.

The primary intended audience for the seminar is undergraduate students and recent graduates who have taken an introductory economics course. If interest exceeds capacity, preference will be given to them. However, it may also be of interest to faculty or others whose work or other activities relate to the topic. Feel free to share this with others who may be interested and who will be comfortable with the idea of exploring this topic within a Baha'i conceptual framework. This seminar will be the second meeting of its kind. We are welcoming both new and returning participants. For returning participants, new material will be available.

The group will read and consult about a document prepared as a project within the ABS economies working group. Six 90-minute sessions will be held on the weekend of January 16-18. The start times for the sessions on both days are 9am and 12pm Pacific Time. The document will be emailed to participants before the sessions.

Facilitators: Andres Shahidinejad, Stefan Faridani, Jordan van Rijn, Selvi Zabihi