Author Discusses His Book: 'The New Holy Wars'
Economics historian and author Robert H. Nelson visits Alma College to discuss his book The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America.
Nelson, professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 in the Dow Science Center Room L-4. Admission is free and open to the public.
Nelson is considered a controversial figure because he espouses the view that environmentalism and economics are secularized religions, says Kate Blanchard, assistant professor of religious studies at Alma College.
The New Holy Wars by Nelson
“He thinks economists are trying to save the world through finance, and environmentalists are trying to save the world through conservation,” says Blanchard. “He has something to offend every side of every argument, which makes him interesting.”
Nelson has published articles in a variety of sources, including the Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Political Economy, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. In addition to The New Holy Wars, he has published eight other books, written as a columnist for Forbes magazine and worked with the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Feler Bose, assistant professor of economics at Alma College, is particularly interested in hearing Nelson challenge the assumption that economics is a “value free” discipline.
“I think the issues that Nelson are discussing will make people think more and think differently,” he says. “He basically argues that environmentalism and economics have roots in Calvinism. That’s an interesting thesis for his research agenda.”
Bose was at an economics and religion conference when he first heard Nelson speak. Unfortunately, he says, it was only in passing.
“I had actually gone to another session, but when I passed that room, I could hear him from the outside,” he says. “When everyone came out, they were all so frustrated. It seems like I missed out!”
The College’s environmental studies, economics, religious studies, political science and history departments as well as the co-curricular committee are collectively sponsoring Nelson’s visit. Blanchard is pleased about the cooperative effort.
“This is going to be a great liberal arts event because it’s so cross disciplinary,” she says. “I’m hoping that the students who attend are just as diverse in background.”
Posted: Fri, September 24th, 2010 at 1:11PM