43700-01 - Vorlesung mit Übungen: Perspectives of Economics on Sustainability | Bachelor | 3 KP

The lecture is offered within the scope of the trans-faculty program "Sustainable
Development (TQNE)". The program consists of 3 introductory lectures with practical course
(lecture A and B offered in fall semesters; this lectur is C and alwasy offered in spring semesters) dedicated to
conveying the foundations of sustainable development. An additional integrative seminar (D,
offered in spring semesters) engages with interdisciplinary work. The assignment and completion
of D requires the successful completion of two lectures from A, B, C.
The topic "Food and Sustainability" serves as an integration focus for the entire TQ NE and,
thus, also for this lecture.

The lecture builds on the 10 basic rules of economics (following the text book of Mankiw & Tayler) as well as models and scenarios of societal development, i.e.: Malthus; the relation between soil, income and food; the limits to growth. Moreover, the lecture covers the economic perspective of sustainable development (e.g. the 3-pillar-model, the concepts of efficiency, consistency and sufficiency. Finally, it presents challenges on the path towards sustainable development.

Numerous case studies help to provide an understanding of key issues and trade-offs:
- Industrial countries: increase of productivity through intensive agriculture vs. decrease of biodiversity and increased pressure on the environment;
-Threshold countries: the links between economic growth, increased income, - increased protein consumption (in particular increased meat consumption), increased pressure on the environment (in particular increased emission of greenhouse gases);
- Developing countries: agricultural vs. technological development paths?
- Global: who profits from fairtrade-products?
- Global: do modern financial sector products lead to more hunger?
- Global: what is the impact of foreign land acquisition (aka land grabbing) on the economic situation of the indigenous population?
- Global: what are the costs of providing clean water? Are consumers paying an appropriate price for water? Discussion of water management systems. Is there a commoditisation of the ressource water?

The lecture content also includes national and international political initiatives and scenarios conceived for facing food system challenges in the coming 20-30 years.

On top of the economic perspective, the lecture will take a systems perspective investigating the roles of system boundaries, relevant time scales, as well as the interaction of subsystems. This approach helps to better understand the basic assumptions underlying economic models. Vorlesungsverzeichnis