Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics/JakeOrgan
Notes by user Jake Organ (University of New Mexico) for Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics
I'm still (Thursday) trying to internalize and make sense of the intense intellectual experience that was my attendance at the Population and Environment conference. Firstly, the Institute itself was an amazing discovery, that such places exist beyond the realm of Sci-fi was eye-opening; and the atmosphere in the conference and the wider Institute really encouraged a level of deep thinking that often goes on in private but is rarely talked about in such an open and relaxed way. I loved the short, sharp shock lecture style; i.e. all these relatively brief but penetrating talks from experts in a wide variety of fields. I woke up around 3.30am on Tuesday grappling with two thoughts that wouldn't go away; Mary Shenk's concept of the Homo Sapien discovery of 'Co-operative breeding' and the implications of that especially as that process seems to be reversing in the Western World, and a couple of sentences by Simon Levin on the differences between optimization and game theory and which models the actual process more effectively. Thankfully, I got a chance to have a great talk with Mary in which she helped me think about the implications of globalization and development, especially as they relate to the areas of Sub-Saharan Africa that I study. Also, Simon gave me some of his time to discuss the prevalence of optimization, especially in the field of economics and pointed me to some excellent papers to help to develop my thoughts.
So much more I could say: both Mary and Caroline Bledsoe gave me a deeper insight into anthropological methods, Lori Hunter's talk touched directly on a lot of my research and though I'm not a biologist, there were many parts of Caroline Lee's, Chris Kempes's and Andy Rominger's talks that really spoke into my research. Hearing Sir Partha Dasgupta at the end was a great inspiration, and aided many of us economists because he pointed to ways that we could integrate the wider research into our own work. I could write more, but I'll end with thanks to Paul, Amy, Carla and David for the warmth of the welcome, the creation of such a unique atmosphere and the constant supply of food and coffee.
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