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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Economic activist speaks to campuses

John Ikerd, an agricultural economist considered by some to be the father of sustainable capitalism, will give a speech at Texas A&M today on his views on the American economy, its agricultural system and the problems that are possibly to come.
Ikerd has a history as an activist and renowned academic professor of agriculture. He has been published in more than 100 publications and was formerly president of the Southern Sustainability Conference.
Ikerd’s speech will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Rudder 601 and is being put on by the Collegiate Association for Social Entrepreneurship, Texas Environmental Action Coalition, Aggie Community Garden, the Department of Multicultural Services, radio station KEOS and the Texas A&M Sustainability Council.
“After working throughout different universities over the country, I noticed that we are functioning in a society driven by self-interest, and [have] forgotten the focus on the greater good,” Ikerd said.
Ikerd said he believes in a free market economy, but it “needs to function with bounds of ethics and social beliefs, as well as stewardship of goods.”
Ikerd also said the American economy should focus on other means of energy, as well as work on making trade a more “classical, free market,” because there is too much corruption and dominating traders in the system now. The agricultural makeup of the economy should focus more on the production of local farmers.
“[It] is not in a world where convenience takes precedence over things, because this is essentially ripping us off, so large companies profit,” said John Betik, a junior sub-biology major and representative from the Sustainability Council.
Betik also stressed how the speech is a must-see for students, especially because of the ties A&M has with agriculture, as well as the current economy.
Andrew Pittz, senior sociology major and lead coordinator for the event, explained how Ikerd’s speech will focus on the intersecting circles of social, economic and environmental issues, and how they all interlock and work together.
“Economics is more then money; it’s environment, well-being and the quality of life,” Pittz said. “This goes back to Adam Smith and Thomas Paine, much of where Dr. Ikerd gets his ideas from.”
Ikerd said his speech will include ideas and theories about fossil fuels and a search for alternative energy sources. He will also talk about global climate changes, while focusing on the agricultural structure of what would make our ecosystem more compatible and sustainable.
“We have created economic illusions during the ’90s because we couldn’t create actual economic growth,” Ikerd said. “We also have a financial house of cards because people can’t pay their money and loans back. This proves our ecosystem is unstable and not sustainable.”
Ikerd’s standpoint challenges the ideas of business cooperations with the idea of local growth to eliminate the possibilities of inflation and unfair trade, as well as using different means of energy.
Betik said the speech will be important to students because it will help them see how everything is affecting the economy and ecosystem.
“Ikerd is a world-renowned speaker and activist who is graciously granting us his time,” Betik said. “He isn’t just a blogger or someone with random ideas; he is someone who has been internationally recognized with his ideas and publications, and is giving us his time.”

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