#TRON (The Revaluation Of Nature, January 02, 2016):

What are tigers worth? Why is diamond more valuable than water? What is Nature’s role in economic value? Is non-use value also a part of total value? Is valuation always the same as measurement in terms of money? Is value fundamentally a (human) welfare concept? What is the implication of Nature not being ‘in the market’? Does Nature include the moon? How did water and land come to be commoditized? Would it be a mistake to give a value to (say) Sundarbans? What is Nature, & how have our interrelationships changed historically? What does conservation involve? Is nature conservation just a small part of environmentalism? Are both preservation as well as resource management a possibility? Can bringing in the future continuously into our conception help correct the use of resources? Might a time return when water might not have a market? Do we (always) ‘Bring out number, weight, & measure in a year of dearth’? Must the economy (once again) become a subset of society? Is ‘man the measure of all things’? Are we capable of something much greater than anthropocentrism? Should we be optimistic? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from economics (Prof. A. K. Enamul Haque, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh), conservation studies (Dr. Ullas Karanth, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangalore), & philosophy and economics (Dr. Aseem Shrivastava, New Delhi).

Listen in….

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TRON show.

Prof. A. K. Enamul Haque (environmental economics) is a Professor of Economics at the East West University, and the Executive Director of the Asian Center for Development in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He completed his Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics from University of Guelph, Canada (1991). Since his return to Bangladesh, Prof. Haque has been actively involved in reshaping higher education in Bangladesh. He was the first Dean of the School of Business of Bangladesh Open University. Subsequently, he helped build Economics departments in several private universities in Bangladesh. He was also one of the founding members of the Department of Economics at North South University. Then he moved to East West University and the United International University. Besides teaching, Prof. Haque has been working in the field of Environmental Economics in South Asia and established the South Asian Network for Environment and Development (SANDEE) with colleagues from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He has been teaching techniques of Environmental Valuation to university teachers and researchers across South Asia and is considered to be one of the leading Environmental Economists in the region. He is a life member of Bangladesh Economic Association, and has been a consultant to World Bank, GTZ, and IUCN. He has also authored several research articles in national and international journals and contributed chapters in many books in this area. He also has edited a book on ‘Environmental Valuation in South Asia’ (Cambridge University Press) which is used as a text in several universities across South Asia.

Dr. Ullas Karanth (ecology, conservation studies) is Director for Science Asia for the New York based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Bangalore. Dr. Karanth is also an Adjunct Professor at Universities of Florida and Minnesota and the TIFR in India.  He trained as an engineer at NITK, Surathkal in 1971, and then went on to pursue his passion for wildlife by studying tiger ecology in India (1986), obtaining his Masters Degree from University of Florida, USA (1988) and Ph.D. from Mangalore University, India (1993). Dr. Karanth has worked extensively on tiger and prey ecology, published over 120 scientific papers and several books including ‘The Way of  the Tiger’, ‘A View from the Machan’ and ‘Science of Saving Tigers’. His key areas of interest are, carnivore ecology, modeling of wildlife populations, and conservation policy and advocacy. He has served as Board member of numerous organizations (viz. WWF India, and National Tiger Conservation Authority) and has been awarded recognitions such as the ‘Sierra Club’s International Earthcare Award’ (2006), ‘J. Paul Getty Award’ of WWF (2007), and the ‘Salim Ali Award’ for lifetime achievement from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS, 2009). Dr. Karanth was also elected a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS) in 2008 & was awarded the Karnataka Government’s Rajyaprashasthi (2010). He was also conferred India’s 4th highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, by the President of India in 2012.

Dr. Aseem Shrivastava (philosophy, economics) is an independent writer and an ecological economist, based in New Delhi. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, where his thesis was on ‘Deforestation in Colonial Kumaon: (1815-1947)’. He has taught at universities in India and the US, including at St. Stephen’s College (New Delhi), and Middlebury College (Vermont). He also taught philosophy at Nordic College, Norway (2001-05). Since 2005, he has been working independently, researching, writing and lecturing nationally and internationally on issues associated with globalization and its impact on society, economy, ecology and ethics. He was a speaker at the 2012 World Conservation Congress, in South Korea, and at the 2013 World Social Forum, in Tunisia. He is the author (with Ashish Kothari) of the book ‘Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India (Penguin Viking, New Delhi, 2012)’, which offers a socio-ecological critique of India’s development strategy since 1947. He is presently at work on two projects, one a two-volume book on the ecological thought of Rabindranath Tagore, and the other an aphoristic, philosophical examination of greed.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TRON mentions: Adam Smith, Ricardo, William Blake, Marx, Simon Kuznets, Robert Costanza, & Jan Schipper, among others.