August16th is the 50th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.

System Dynamics Modeling and Ecological Economics

Ecological economists conceptualize economic systems as embedded within and depending upon ecological and geological systems - of local, regional and planetary scale. Indeed, our economies rely on these greater systems for inputs of raw materials and energy and then return that material and energy to the environment in degraded, difficult to re-use forms. It is hardly surprising then, that the rapidly rising 'throughput' of matter and energy - mediated by our growth-oriented economies - is causing wide-scale degradation of our living environment.  Our economic systems are also embedded in and profoundly influenced by our social and cultural systems and the dynamic interactions among all of these systems are, to say the least, difficult to understand. System dynamics modeling, with its emphasis on flows, stocks, feedback loops and non-linearity, offers powerful methods for representing these interdependent systems and the intricacies of their interrelation.  While popular with ecological economists, traditional, mainstream economists make little use of system dynamics.  To address this gap, Peter Victor built, 'LowGrow' - a macroeconomic system dynamics model for exploring the implications of an economy no longer reliant on economic growth. After more than a decade since its initial release, he continues to apply, develop and refine this model. In this session, Peter will describe LowGrow and offer an update concerning some of its innovative new features.

About Professor Peter A. Victor

Peter Victor, author of Managing without Growth. Slower by Design, not Disaster, is a Professor in Environmental Studies at York University. He has worked for nearly 50 years in Canada and abroad on economy and environment as an academic, consultant and public servant. His work on ecological economics has been recognized through the award of the Molson Prize in the Social Sciences by the Canada Council for the Arts in 2011, the Boulding Memorial Prize from the International Society for Ecological Economics in 2014, and his election to the Royal Society of Canada in 2015.

Peter was the founding president of the Canadian Society of Ecological Economics and is a past-president of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science. Prior to becoming Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in 1996 he was Assistant Deputy Minister for the Environmental Science and Standards Division in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Currently Peter is a member of the Honorary Board of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Centre for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy, as well as belonging to several advisory boards in the public and private sectors.

Join us in an open discussion. Newcomers always welcomed.

In preparation, please review the following notes:

Peter Victor, keynote address at the Steady State Economy Conference, Leeds, UK, 2011

Foundations for an Ecological Macroeconomics_2014

(Background on Systems Dynamics Modeling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_dynamics)


OCAD U Lab: Room 510, 205 Richmond Street West, Toronto.


Post-meeting artifacts: