The Tragedy of the Private: Capitalism and the Climate

DP headshot

On Monday, October 30th, History Hub was pleased to present the first in a series of Faculty/Graduate Student Workshops.  The event featured an informal talk by Dr. Dirk Philipsen, an Associate Research Professor of Economic History at the Sanford School of Public Policy, a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a Secondary Faculty member of Duke History, about his creative new project. In the context of the climate crisis, Dr. Philipsen gave an enthralling presentation about what he has dubbed "the tragedy of the private," or the way in which the framework of private property under capitalism has come to exacerbate the warming of the earth's atmosphere. After giving a presentation featuring economic and environmental data that contextualizes the crisis, participants in the discussion gave their own thoughts and asked provocative questions, with topics ranging from the merits of degrowth, decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, and whether it makes sense to talk just about capitalism as a system and not about the capitalists who perpetrate the climate crisis.

The purpose of the Faculty/Graduate Student Workshops is to promote informal discussions of works-in-progress by both faculty and graduate students.  Look for future events.