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

Semester Frühjahrsemester 2020
Angebotsmuster Jedes Frühjahrsem.
Dozierende Vera Calenbuhr (vera.calenbuhr@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt 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 lecture is C and always 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, or 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.
Lernziele The scientific field of economics analyses the allocation of resources in a society. The objectives of the course are to
a) provide the basic knowledge for understanding the food system, and
b) to discuss what a sustainable food system means,
from an economic perspective. This includes discussing the question whether ending hunger is equivalent to achieving a sustainable food system.
Literatur The lecture uses many online resources and original scientific literature. Hence, there is no need to acquire a text book.

Nonetheless, interesting books on the related subjects include the following:
. "Introduction to Ecological Economics". CRC Press (2014) (the book introduces the new perspective towards ecological economics)
N. Gregory Mankiw und Mark P. Taylor. "Economics" Cengage Learning, 2014 (3rd Edition) (economics text book)
Bemerkungen Practical course
Each student has to attend four sessions of a practical course (each 90 minutes; dates
according to the announcement). The groups are organized together with the enrolled students at the beginning of the teaching period.
Location: Vesalianum, Vesalgasse 1, 2nd floor, meeting room 02.03a (modifications will be
announced in due time).

Extra certificate
Students who successfully complete all four classes of the TQ NE can apply for an additional
certificate at the end of their studies (your final diploma incl. Transcript of Records must be available). Please send an email to coordination-msd@unibas.ch, with details of fullname, student number, postal address.

MSD 2017
Credit points may be transferred to the "Focal Areas of Sustainability Research" module (learning agreement), unless you have a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Business (then the CP of this lecture C cannot be recognized for the MSD curriculum).

This course is offered by the trans-faculty program "Sustainable Development" (TQ NE) & MSD,
Dr. Vera Calenbuhr holds a teaching assignment.


Teilnahmebedingungen Students are supposed to study at least in their third semester (of Bachelor) or higher (more than 4 semesters; or on master's level or as PhD student).
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall wöchentlich
Datum 28.02.2020 – 28.05.2020
Zeit Donnerstag, 16.15-18.00 Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Datum Zeit Raum
Freitag 28.02.2020 14.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 05.03.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Fasnachtsferien
Donnerstag 12.03.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 19.03.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 26.03.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 02.04.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 09.04.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Ostern
Donnerstag 16.04.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 23.04.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 30.04.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 07.05.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 14.05.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Donnerstag 21.05.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Auffahrt
Donnerstag 28.05.2020 16.15-18.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Module Grundkurse (Transfakultäre Querschnittsprogramme im freien Kreditpunkte-Bereich)
Vertiefungsmodul Global Europe: Umwelt und Nachhaltigkeit (Masterstudium: European Global Studies)
Leistungsüberprüfung Leistungsnachweis
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Regular attendance of lecture and practical course; written examination: date and room tba.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung An-/Abmelden: Belegen resp. Stornieren der Belegung via MOnA
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala 1-6 0,1
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Universität Basel
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Departement Umweltwissenschaften