My PhD thesis: Why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?

PhD thesis: Why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?

This PhD thesis is an inquiry about:
(a) Why does the mainstream (neoclassical) theory of economics ignore ecology?
(b) What is the place of ecology in the undergraduate level education in economics? Case in three European countries

Official PhD topic: The place of ecology in undergraduate economics education; the case in three European countries (La place de l’écologie dans l’enseignement de premier cycle en Science Economique: le cas de trois pays européens) – Ecole Doctorale, Università di Corsica

In my own words:
(a) Why does the mainstream (neoclassical) theory of economics ignore ecology?
(b) What is the place of ecology in the undergraduate level education in economics, in three European countries? (UK, Germany and Switzerland)

The latest draft-version of my PhD thesis can be downloaded here as PDF booklet.

(a) is the more philosophical part of my PhD that requires qualitative and historical analysis. (b) is the more empirical part which is based at least partially on some surveys and fact tables. I haven’t done any surveys myself; I did only unstructured and structured interviews at the beginning of my PhD work. This thesis includes information about existing survey reports, plus, content and keyword analysis of some popular economics textbooks. However, part (a) represents the primary inquiry of this thesis: Why does neoclassical economics ignore ecology? What are the historical, ideological, political and economic reasons of this ignorance? What are the most important barriers to overcome this ignorance?

Author of this thesis: Tunç Ali Kütükçüoğlu
PhD directors: Paul-Marie Romani (director), Dominique Prunetti (co-director)

My recommendation to the readers of my thesis: Read first parts A (introduction) and D (conclusions) before diving into the details of part B and C. You can send me your critiques, comments and suggestions by email. You can find my email address on the first page of the thesis.

PhD status (as of 20. February 2021): I submitted the fist draft of my PhD thesis to the Doctorate School of the University of Corsica on the 6. of January, 2021. Now, I am waiting for instructions about the next steps. I hope, I can have a well-balanced and interdisciplinary jury for my PhD defense; a jury which is not dominated by mainstream (neoclassical, neoliberal) economists, because my thesis is quite critical about mainstream economics. In this thesis, I have (among other things) following claims:

  1. Political economy (or philosophy of economy) which has started as a respectable branch of philosophy in the 18. century, has become a sort of neoliberal business ideology toward the end of the 20. century.
  2. Along with short-term exploitative business interests and industrial education (typically poor in philosophy, fine arts and ecology), mainstream economics has become one of the biggest institutional barriers to the necessary economic transition for sustainability: From GDP growth economy to sustainable well-being economy
  3. The economic system as well as economics education do not only concern economists; they are serious concerns for every society. We need a different (i.e. broad-view, interdisciplinary, pluralist, open) economics education for sustainable human life and well-being.
  4. My suggestions for a better economics education

Why I chose University of Corsica for my PhD
I fell in immediately in love with Corsica when I visited it first in 2016; lush green mountains, forests with chestnut trees, mild mediterannean climate, beautiful beaches that are free from ugly concrete piles and hotel chains, and a rebellious spirit that protected the cultural and natural riches of this country against mass tourism and neoliberal plunder economy (big money, big boss, big business). When I met academicians like Romani and Prunetti in Corte, I began to think, if I could do my PhD with the already intended subject (why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?) here, at the University of Corsica. I thought, with his philosophical background, Romani was sincerely interested in my multi-disciplinary and very critical PhD topic, that would span broad fields like history of economic thought, political economy, epistemology and ecology. After lengthy negotiations and reviews about the PhD offer with Prunetti, that took more than a year, I could finally begin with my PhD at the University of Corsica in December 2018.

I think, Corsica can be a model of sustainable lifestyle, tourism, education, economy and farming for the world. It is already a model, but could be much better. For example, University of Corsica could be a center of holistic education, including socio-ecological economics that aims sustainable well-being for all.

What I plan to do after completing my PhD

  1. Publishing my PhD thesis as a book (after a review) in different languages; writing further books and articles for a better economic education and ecological literacy for all. I am especially interested in evolutionary anthropology, evolution of societies, lifestyles and economies.
  2. Helping local communities and governments that want to make the transition from industrial/imperial to ecological/sustainable lifestyle and economy
  3. Working for a better (holistic, pluralist, ecological) economics education that aims to help societies reach higher goals like social justice, ecological stability and sustainable well-being
  4. Working for an academy that offer holistic education (as an antithesis of industrial education with rigid disciplinary boundaries; theory and practice, learning by doing, philosophy, science, ecology, fine arts and music, sports etc. with ecological farming, architecture and tourism in its center
  5. Ecological gardening, ecological garden ponds and aquariums
  6. Working for improved ecological literacy in schools and universities; practical experience with ecological gardens, ponds and aquariums
  7. Open Science; public communication of philosophy, science and economy, production with open & transparent organizations and technologies

Pictures of some selected sections from my PhD thesis (use right/left arrows to navigate, ESC to close):

About tuncali

I began keeping aquariums as early as I was nine years old. Since then, I kept many aquariums and lots of fish, plant and invertebrate species. My favorite fish family is of course cichlids with their fascinating behaviors. My relatively new area of interest is low-tech natural aquariums as almost self-sufficient ecosystems that are I think ideal models for sustainable life.
This entry was posted in Sustainable life and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to My PhD thesis: Why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?

  1. tuncali says:

    Brief information about the content of my PhD thesis:

    Part A (introduction) is about basics: What is economics, and what are the differences between political economy and economics? How did broad-view political economy of the 19. century become narrow-view neoclassical economy in the 20. century? What is ecological literacy, and what are the basic principles of ecology? Do economics departments really ignore ecology?

    Part B (fundamentals) is about an in-depth analysis of the ideological foundations
    and core assumptions & beliefs of mainstream (neoclassical/neoliberal) economics that still dominate the university education as well as mainstream media and politics today.

    In this part (B), I investigate ideological foundations like Industrial Paradigm (i.e. human-centered, mechanistic & reductionist worldview), Western ideology of continuous and limitless Progress, short-term Business Interests and reducing the whole economy to Business Realm. I also investigate core beliefs (misconceptions, ideological barriers) like monetary reductionism, GDP growth obsession (growthism), technological optimism and inverse fitting (i.e. trying to fit realities of life into abstract mathematical theories), that stem from the aforementioned ideological foundations.

    In part D (conclusions) I demonstrate, how most of these core beliefs (misconceptions) conflict with the principles of ecology that are listed in section A.6 (introduction).

    How would a belief system react to such serious conflicts with a natural science like ecology? Normally, it has two options: (1) Either it makes the necessary corrections and updates in its theory, or (2) it ignores ecology to maintain the status quo. Mainstream economics seems to go for the second option with an incredible resistance to change.

    In part D (conclusions) I try to explain, why the gatekeepers of mainstream economics behave like this, and I bring forth some suggestions for a better economics education.

    A brief content analysis of some popular economics university textbooks is included in this PhD thesis. You may see the section D.5 for a summary.

    Part C is a summary of some critical reports about the undergraduate economics education in some European countries, including UK, Germany and France. I found especially “The Econocracy” quite useful to understand the current status of economics education.

  2. tuncali says:

    Current status of my PhD: Excommunicated!
    https://twitter.com/tuncalik/status/1425045780969177089

    Email to my PhD contributors: Excommunicated from the Church of Economism!
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/a688cvc4m5hqc4g/EmailToPhDContributors_PhDstatusExcommunicated_20210804.pdf/file

    Email to University of Corsica: Grand errors in the report of jury
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/0yergp8zdlaul6j/EmailToUnivCorse_GrandesErreursDansLaRapportDuJury_20210809.pdf/file

    Official PhD description (in French)
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/esfvc4u2ah65afj/MyPhDproject_EcoleDoctorale_UniCorse.pdf/file

    Official PhD description (English translation)
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/leieuufrpyin5ya/PhDThesisDesription_TranslationInEN.pdf/file

    Report of the jury in French: Notice of Excommunication (ajury of five male mainstream economists for my multidisciplinary PhD, plus director of the School of Doctorate)
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/2r9u1cumkqvpsb2/PhDJury_rapport_T_A_K%25C3%25BCt%25C3%25BCkc%25C3%25BCoglu.pdf/file

    Members of the jury:
    * Olivier Beaumais (chairman, the most arrogant and aggressive member of the jury)
    * Paul-Marie Romani (PhD director)
    * Dominique Prunetti (co-director)
    * Claudio Detotto
    * Dominique Torre
    * Alain Muselli (director of Doctorate School)

    Report of the director of School of Doctorate in French
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/s83kj7zruiyiebw/PhDJury_Tun%25C3%25A7_Ali_K%25C3%25BCt%25C3%25BCkc%25C3%25BCoglu.pdf/file

    Last paragraphs from my email to contributors:

    Of course, I don’t find all this fair or just; I am not yet finished with the University of Corsica. I will demand justice with strong and sound arguments. I will soon publish an “Open Letter” to the University of Corsica, and inform other departments –especially departments like ecology, sociology and anthropology– about the fate of my PhD, and tell them that “a university should not be dominated by the gatekeepers of a pseudoscience, who confuse public interests with business interests”.

    Meanwhile, I decided to stay away from economics departments, however they define themselves (open-minded, broad-view, pluralist, heterodox, ecological etc.). Now, I plan to complete my PhD at the department of “Political Ecology” of any suitable university. Any critiques, comments and suggestions are very welcome.

  3. tuncali says:

    Email to my PhD contributors on 4. August 2021

    Dear contributors

    I had informed you in February 2021 (email attached below) that I may not be able to complete my PhD at the University of Corsica due to serious ideological conflicts with my supervisors about the status and nature of mainstream (neoclassical/neoliberal) economics.

    Interestingly, in November 2020, my second PhD poster that summarized main findings of my work won a prize from a French technology organization named SATT (www.sattse.com). The School of Doctorate of the university thanked me for answering the interview questions of this organization in a comprehensive and precise manner. The interview was published here:

    The PhD poster mentioned above that won the prize can be downloaded here:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/0njdfezk3ecenek/MyPoster2_20200924_WithLogo.pdf/file

    After winning this prize, I hoped that my PhD work would be accepted after all, without too much difficulty. I hoped, the School of Doctorate would bring together an interdisciplinary jury as I asked for, which is not dominated by economists, and they would give me a fair chance to defend my PhD work.

    But no! I submitted the first draft of my thesis in January 2021 to the School of Doctorate, and waited until May for a zoom meeting with a jury. To my disappointment, all the five members of the jury were hardcore mainstream economists, and the zoom meeting was more like a court of catholic inquisition than an academic meeting.

    According to the final and undisputable verdict of the court, I was excommunicated from the PhD program of the university with following claims:

    1. disagreements with a co-adviser (in my case Prunetti) are not acceptable for any PhD (as if I had personal problems with him, the problem was ideological)
    2. It is very difficult to talk with me, and I am impolite (repeated several times; I guess, they were meaning my critical and sometimes ironical writing style)
    3. I am only a student (repeated several times); e.g. how can I dare to suggest an interdisciplinary jury?
    4. I need to find other supervisors from other universities; this cannot go on like this.
    5. my PhD thesis is not an academic work; the methodology is not clear. It is a collection of personal (subjective) opinions without a methodology
    6. my PhD subject is too broad (???)
    7. my PhD thesis (draft document) is not really about the official PhD description, it is about something else (???)
    8. apparently, I am not looking for a solution (stated several times by the chairman of the jury, which would probably mean, full obedience to the authority of supervisor without arguments)

    I wasn’t given any chance or time to respond to these claims and defend my work. After about 40 minutes of one-way communication with a slow internet connection, they told me that the decision was already taken and the meeting was over. As I tried to explain myself, they muted my voice in the zoom application.

    It was for me first-hand field experience, how “blasphemers” are excommunicated from the “church of economism” (phrase and article by R. Norgaard). My email-response to this meeting is attached as pdf file.

    I don’t take any of these claims seriously in the academic sense. I think, they didn’t like the content and conclusions of my PhD thesis. They probably took my criticism about mainstream economics quite personally as an insult to their position, authority and profession. What they told me in the zoom meeting were only some academic and legitimate sounding, superficial pretexts to discredit the whole work.

    Of course, I don’t find all this fair or just; I am not yet finished with the University of Corsica. I will demand justice with strong arguments. I will soon publish an “Open Letter” to the University of Corsica, and inform other departments –especially departments like ecology, sociology and anthropology– about the fate of my PhD, and tell them that “a university should not be dominated by the gatekeepers of a pseudoscience, who confuse public interests with business interests”.

    Meanwhile, I decided to stay away from economics departments, however they define themselves (open-minded, broad-view, pluralist, heterodox, ecological etc.). Now, I plan to complete my PhD at the department of “Political Ecology” of any suitable university.

    Any critiques, comments and suggestions are very welcome.
    Best regards

    Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu

    The Church of Economism and Its Discontents (2015), Richard Norgaard
    https://greattransition.org/publication/the-church-of-economism-and-its-discontents
    ***
    Email to my PhD contributors on 21. February, 2021

    Dear contributors

    I submitted the first draft of my PhD thesis to the Doctorate School (University of Corsica) on the 6. of January, 2021. Now I am waiting for instructions about the next steps.

    You can download the latest draft-version of my PhD thesis here:

    Why does mainstream (neoclassical) economics ignore ecology?
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/y455nvq3r5803sv/PhD-Thesis-Tunc_DRAFT_2021.pdf/file

    If you find time to read it, I recommend you to read parts A (introduction) and D (conclusions) first, before diving into the details of parts B and C. I attached snapshots of some sections that might interest you.

    Because my thesis is very critical about mainstream (neoclassical/neoliberal) economics, I asked for a well-balanced and multidisciplinary jury for my PhD defense, which is not dominated by mainstream economists. I don’t know yet, if this will be possible.

    My PhD is currently placed in the department of “economic sciences”, and one of my supervisors (Prunetti, an economist) seems to be quite reluctant to let it pass (to the stage of defense) without making explicit critiques about my thesis. He implies, my thesis doesn’t comply with academic and scientific conventions, but he doesn’t explain which conventions and why.

    In this blog article of mine, you can find brief information about my PhD, why I chose to do it at the University of Corsica, and my plans after completing my PhD:
    https://www.tuncalik.com/2021/02/my-phd-thesis-why-does-mainstream-economics-ignore-ecology/

    If I can’t complete my PhD at the University of Corsica, my Plan-B is, completing it at another university. It doesn’t matter for me in which department (e.g. political sciences, sociology, philosophy, ecology, economy etc.) provided that I can have a multi-disciplinary supervisorship.

    Any comments, critiques and suggestions about my PhD thesis, my Plan-B and my intentions after completing the PhD are very welcome. Thank you again, for your contributions.

    Best regards
    Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu

  4. tuncali says:

    Email to Doctorate School of the University of Corsica, on 9. August 2021:

    Mr Muselli (French translation attached below)

    Last week, I finally found time to read English translation the report of the jury again. I will send you a detailed letter about all the errors in the report of the jury (attached). In this letter, I will respond to every claim in the report. This letter will be a part of my “Open Letter to University of Corsica” that I will publish in my blog site in a couple of months. All relevant official PhD documents like PhD descriptions, progress reports and PhD posters will be attached to this Open Letter.

    Why publish blog articles and Open Letters? Because this is the only power I have; open and transparent academic discussion (i.e. democratic force of arguments) against the institutional power of position, secrecy, mobbing and politics. If I didn’t publish my PhD thesis in internet, no one would know the content of it apart from some deprecative economists in the University of Corsica.

    In this particular email, I will mention only the grandest error in the report: It claims, my PhD was not actually about a broad and qualitative question like “why does mainstream economics ignore ecology”; it should only be concerned with the “place of ecology in modern undergraduate economics education in three European countries” in the narrow sense, without investigating the historical reasons of the ecological ignorance.

    Now I understand better, why some jury members repeatedly said things like “your PhD subject is too broad”, or “your PhD is not about the given subject, it is about something else” (during the zoom meeting).

    This claim is totally wrong. I hope, this grand error is only a mistake or misunderstanding; not deliberate cheating to discredit my PhD work.

    I came to the University of Corsica with a definite PhD idea in mind, and it was about “the reasons of ecological ignorance in mainstream (neoclassical/neoliberal) economics.” This can be seen in all my PhD offers, progress reports and PhD posters (attached). I wouldn’t be interested in a narrow PhD topic like just “place of ecology in modern undergraduate economics education in three European countries” without historical and qualitative analysis of the underlying ideological ignorance of ecology (a case of ideological blindness).

    The original topic of my PhD was “the reasons of ecological ignorance in mainstream economics” and this was the topic that PhD director Mr Romani found interesting. And that’s why “historical and qualitative analysis” was emphasized in the official PhD description (attached).

    From the beginning on, Mr Prunetti never liked the term “ecological ignorance”; he probably found the phrase insulting for his profession. Once in a meeting with Prunetti, Romani and I in Corte, Prunetti argued that it would be wrong to say “mainstream economics ignores ecology” to which Romani responded: “Of course mainstream economics ignores ecology, we need historical analysis to understand why”.

    So, it was in fact my PhD director Romani who was originally interested in my PhD topic, co-director Prunetti was not really interested. He continuously tried to narrow my PhD description down to a “harmless” quantitative inquiry (structured questions, surveys, tables, numbers) that would exclude dangerous qualitative questions like “why don’t economics students learn first foundational fields like ecology (especially human ecology), evolutionary anthropology, history of economic thought, philosophy of science etc.” before learning theories of an economic school like neoclassical/neoliberal economics that totally excludes ecology and anthropology.

    Official PhD title: “La place de l’écologie dans l’enseignement de premier cycle en Science Economique : le cas de trois payseuropéens”

    This official PhD title, which was formulated by Prunetti, was only a polite formulation of the same question (i.e. the reasons of ecological ignorance). Prunetti explained it to me in Corte as follows: “Such a polite formulation is necessary for acceptance of the PhD application; insulting phrases like “ecological ignorance” would not be accepted by the authorities in France. Once the PhD offer is accepted, you can write whatever you want.”

    “The case in three countries” was a later addition by Prunetti; the core inquiry was always “why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?” This can be seen in my PhD offers, progress reports and PhD posters (posters are attached). Note that PhD posters are official, confirmed PhD documents (attached).

    The real scope of the PhD can be found in the details of the official PhD description (attached). For example, in part “abstract-1” of the document:

    “Quels sont les facteurs qui expliquent que l’enseignement dans les premiers cycles deScience Economique semblent généralement déconnectés des enseignements d’autres
    disciplines tels que la biologie, l’écologie ou bien encore l’anthropologie ? Ce travail de thèse s’attachera, à travers une approche essentiellement qualitative, à tenter d’apporter des réponses à cette question en relation avec les enseignements qui peuvent être tirés de l’histoire économique de la pensée et des pratiques d’enseignement de la Science Economique en premier cycle dans trois pays européens.”

    In English (google translation):
    “What are the factors that explain why teaching in the first cycles of Economics seems generally disconnected from the teachings of other disciplines such as biology, ecology or even anthropology? This thesis work will focus, through an essentially qualitative approach, in trying to provide answers to this question in relation to the lessons that can be drawn from the economic history of thought and teaching practices in science. Economics undergraduate in three European countries.”

    In all my progress reports and posters, I always emphasized that my PhD thesis had two parts:
    ***
    (a) Why does the mainstream (neoclassical) theory of economics ignore ecology?
    (b) What is the place of ecology in undergraduate education of economics in three European countries?

    (a) is the more philosophical and qualitative part that requires a multidisciplinary and holistic approach.
    (b) is the more empirical part whose conclusions will be based on concrete surveys, facts and fact tables.
    ***
    (b) is the part that was added later by Prunetti to the original PhD offer.

    In my PhD thesis, the analysis of part (b) can be found in part C, based on several reports and surveys published by other students and academicians: C. REPORTS: PLACE OF ECOLOGY IN MODERN ECONOMICS EDUCATION

    So, even if the jury misunderstood the content of my PhD, their claim “my PhD thesis is not about the subject, it is about something else” is wrong.

    For part (a): Reasons of ecological ignorance in mainstream economics:
    1. I first explained in part A (introduction) briefly the history of economic theory: How did “political economy” of the 19. century became first “neoclassical economics” and then “neoliberal” economics in the 20. century? What are the main features of mainstream (neoclassical/neoliberal) economics? Mechanistic and monetary
    reductionism are among these features; both features have the tendency to exclude ecology and qualitative/holistic analysis
    2. I explained the principles of ecology, and the differences between shallow and deep ecology in part A (introduction)
    3. In part B (fundamentals) I explained core beliefs like growthism in mainstream economics and their historical roots
    4. In part B and D (conclusions) I explained how principles of deep ecology collide with core beliefs in mainstream economics. I summarized my conclusions in a table in part D (see table-1 in D.2.)
    5. In part D, I argue: Because core beliefs of mainstream economics (e.g. monetary reductionism, growth obsession, technological optimism, ignoring imperialism,
    ignoring power relations etc.) collide clearly with basic principles of ecology and anthropology, the institution of economics education have two choices: (a) radically change/update its theory and education according to the ecological and historical realities of life, or (b) ignore all critiques of student and academic associations, insist on keeping status qua (along with entangled business interests), ignore ecology and anthropology.

    Unfortunately, the institution of mainstream economics seems to have taken the second path (i.e. business interests first), even in our era of ecological disasters like climate crisis and sixth extinction.

    Regards
    Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglui

  5. tuncali says:

    Email to a group of French economists who were interested in the fate of my PhD (14. July 2021):

    The latest version of my PhD draft can be downloaded here as PhD document:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/y455nvq3r5803sv/PhD-Thesis-Tunc_DRAFT_2021.pdf/file

    I began with my PhD officially in December 2018 at the University of Corsica, after lengthy negotiations with the co-adviser Prunetti about the PhD offer. Troubles began already in the first half of 2019, as I realized that Prunetti was not happy at all with the direction my research was taking:
    https://www.tuncalik.com/2019/08/why-does-mainstream-economics-ignore-ecology-my-3-phd-progress-report-august-2019/#comment-2520

    Because Prunetti tried to discredit my work at every opportunity without any constructive criticism, I decided to publish my PhD work in the summer of 2019 to make it available for everyone.

    Interestingly, my second PhD poster that summarized the main findings of my work won a prize from a French technology organisation named SATT (www.sattse.com). That was in November 2020:
    https://www.sattse.com/la-journee-des-doctorants-de-luniversite-de-corse-associe-enjeux-professionnels-et-scientifiques-et-pluridisciplinarite-pour-faire-du-doctorat-un-passeport-vers-lentreprise/

    The poster which won the prize can be downloaded here:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/0njdfezk3ecenek/MyPoster2_20200924_WithLogo.pdf/file

    After winning this prize, I hoped, my PhD would be accepted after all, without too much difficulty. I hoped, the School of Doctorate would bring together an interdisciplinary jury as I asked for, which is not dominated by economists, and they would give me a fair chance to defend my PhD work properly.

    But no! I submitted the first draft of my thesis in January 2021 to the School of Doctorate (Ecole Doctorale) and waited until the May for a zoom meeting with a jury. All the five members of the jury were hardcore mainstream economists, and the zoom meeting was more like a court of catholic inquisition than an academic meeting.

    According to the final and undisputable verdict of the court, I was excommunicated from the PhD program of the university with following claims:

    * disagreements with a co-adviser (in my case Prunetti) are not acceptable for any PhD (as if I had personal problems with him; the problem was ideological)
    * it is very difficult to talk with me, and I am impolite (repeated several times; I guess, they were meaning my critical and sometimes ironical writing style)
    * I am only a student (repeated several times); for example, how can I dare to suggest an interdisciplinary jury?
    * I need to find other supervisors from other universities; this cannot go on like this.
    * my PhD thesis is not an academic work; the methodology is not clear. It is a collection of personal (subjective) opinions without a methodology
    * my PhD subject is too broad (???)
    * my PhD thesis (draft document) is not really about the official PhD description, it is about something else (???)
    * the chairman of the jury asked me if I had any degree in economics (I said yes, bachelor degree from the University of Zürich. This was mentioned in the introduction part of my PhD in A3).
    * the only solution for me is, I need to find other supervisors from other universities (repeated several times)
    * apparently, I am not looking for a solution (stated several times by the chairman of jury, which would probably mean, full obedience to the authority of supervisor without arguments)

    I wasn’t given any chance or time to respond to these claims and defend my work. After about 40 minutes of one-way communication with a slow internet connection, they told me that the decision was taken and the meeting was over.

    Of course, I don’t find all this fair or just. I am not yet finished with the University of Corsica. I will ask for justice with strong arguments.

    Meanwhile, I plan to finish my PhD at the department of “political ecology” of any suitable university. Any critiques and suggestions are very welcome.

    Best regards
    Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu

  6. tuncali says:

    My tweet chain about my excommunication from the Church of Economism on 10 August 2021:

    My first-hand field experience supports @ProfSteveKeen’s claims:

    My PhD subject was “why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?”

    Started in December 2018, excommunicated from the Church of Economism in May 2021
    https://twitter.com/tuncalik/status/1425093435497893897

  7. tuncali says:

    My first (original) PhD offer to the University of Corsica: Ecological Ignorance in Mainstream (Neoclassical) Economics (27 August 2017)
    http://www.mediafire.com/file/gd7w56mxm9i4o54/PhD_Plan_Tunc_draft1.pdf/file

    My second PhD offer: Institutional ecological ignorance in the theory and education of mainstream economics (English):
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/gidn6wky3cjciy5/PhD_Offer_Tunc_draft2.pdf/file

    French:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/e48pytuy68kvb5v/PhD_Offer_Tunc_draft2_french.pdf/file

    Third and last (officially confirmed) version of my PhD offer: Ecological ignorance in the theory and education of mainstream economics (2018)
    http://www.mediafire.com/file/0b8py3bv1uchnm4/PhD_Offer_Tunc_draft3.pdf/file

  8. tuncali says:

    Email to my PhD contributors on 21 August 2021:

    Dear contributors

    The single-disciplinary PhD jury which gave me an excommunication notice claims “my PhD should only be about the place of ecology in the undergrad economics education in three European countries” in the narrow sense, without investigating broad questions like “why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?”.

    This claim is completely wrong! So wrong that I ask myself, is it a mistake, misunderstanding, sloppiness or outright cheating? Desperate measures to remove serious criticism from the institution of mainstream economics?

    A section from my PhD thesis in part D.1 (conclusions), on page 116:

    “Like every established discipline or belief system, neoclassical economics tends to reject all kinds of theories, sometimes even whole disciplines like evolutionary anthropology and ecology, if their knowledge causes serious conflicts with its core assumptions (Kuhn, 2012).

    This rejection (i.e. barriers) may come in many different forms: Conscious or subconscious, ideological or institutional (Hunt & Lautzenheiser, 2011); in form of omission, undervaluation, belittlement, sometimes even willful ignorance, contempt and hostility, especially if much more than a scientific argument is at stake, like social order, privileges, careers and money (Berry 1996, Afterword). In such cases, ostensibly scientific arguments become mere political tools for displaying on which side one stays.”

    Actually, the behavior of the monodisciplinary jury (five male mainstream economists) confirms these paragraphs in my PhD thesis.

    Attached below, you may find my email to Doctorate School of the University of Corsica about the fallacious claims of the jury. All relevant PhD documents are attached including the official PhD description of the university.

    As I wrote before, I plan to complete my PhD thesis in a department of Political Ecology, but I am not yet finished with the University of Corsica.

    For Your Information

    Best regards
    Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu
    ***
    See above: Email to Doctorate School of the University of Corsica, on 9. August 2021

  9. tuncali says:

    Report of the jury (excommunication notice, original in French) as pdf file
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/2r9u1cumkqvpsb2/PhDJury_rapport_T_A_K%25C3%25BCt%25C3%25BCkc%25C3%25BCoglu.pdf/file

    My response to an allegation in the report of the jury (excommunication notice):

    Allegation (original in French):
    Le comité de suivi individuel de M. Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu a été saisi d’un conflit entre le doctorant et ses directeurs de thése. Ce conflit s’est en particulier matérialisé par la publication d’un post sur le site web du doctorant mettant en cause les orientations méthodologiques de M. Dominique Prunetti. L’audition du 4 mai 2021 a confirmé la réalité de la posture conflictuelle du candidat, qui n’est par ailleurs pas titulaire d’un master recherche en économie.

    In English:
    The individual monitoring committee of Mr. Tunc Ali Kütükcüoglu was seized of a conflict between the doctoral student and its thesis directors. This conflict materialized in particular by the publication of a post on the doctoral student’s website questioning Mr. Dominique’s methodological orientations Prunetti. The hearing on May 4, 2021 confirmed the reality of the candidate’s confrontational posture, which does not hold a research master’s degree in economics.

    My response:
    See my comments above for my discussions with the co-director Prunetti. Here, I will respond only to the last sentence of the paragraph.

    “The hearing on May 4, 2021 confirmed the reality of the candidate’s confrontational posture, which does not hold a research master’s degree in economics.”

    Confrontational posture? In the zoom meeting, they (the jury) didn’t give me much chance and time to explain my opinions and to defend my work. They call my critical stance about the theory and education of mainstream (neoclassical,neoliberal) economics as “confrontational posture”, as if I should be obedient to the strict rules and hierarchy of the Church of Economism, and accept everything said by Prunetti without objection and dispute (unconditional obedience). Besides, their decision (excommunication) was already taken before the meeting (ask director of the School of Doctorate, Mr Muselli).

    My formal education in economics:
    Vordiplom in Economics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland (Vordiplom was like bachelor degree in the old German university system)
    Completed Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) education, obtained the degree, resigned from the Swiss CFA Society in 2012 due to its deceptive ethics (a religion of investor rights) that ignored social and ecological criteria:
    https://www.tuncalik.com/2013/02/why-i-left-the-swiss-cfa-society/

    Many people consider the prestigious (!) CFA education like a master degree in finance. I also considered it like a master specialization in finance, before I realized within a year a so, that it was just a kind of pseudoscience (an ideology of business and money) like mainstream economics. Nevertheless, I completed the CFA education in three years (i.e. three annual examinations in three years).

    I have a master degree in electrical engineering from ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). My most recent CV can be downloaded here:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/w889dobr9z0j1pz/CV_TuncAliKutukcuoglu_EN.pdf/file

    See also: About me
    https://www.tuncalik.com/about-me/

    More importantly, I have more than 40 years of experience in theoretical and applied ecology, especially in the context of aquatic ecosystems (e.g. conventional and natural aquariums).

    I began to keep different kinds of aquariums as I was already eight years old. I began to read popular science books (e.g. R. Dawkins, J. Diamond, C. Sagan) as I was 12 years old. I began to read philosophy books as I was 15 years old, including history and philosophy of science.

    You may see part A.3 of my PhD thesis for more information about my background:
    https://www.mediafire.com/file/y455nvq3r5803sv/PhD-Thesis-Tunc_DRAFT_2021.pdf/file

    Realizing that mainstream economics has grown into a pseudoscience in the 20. century (i.e. the evolution from political economy to neoclassical and neoliberal economics), I began to write blog articles about economy and environment in 2013. Most of my blog articles are in Turkish (tuncaliku.wordpress.com), some of them are in English (www.tuncalik.com). I had lots of discussions with academicians, students, lay people, journalists and politicians about the issues I handled in my blog articles. I authored several articles that were published in newspapers and scientific journals. I’ve read many books about history of civilizations and anthropology. I have seen many places, societies and ecosystems in the world (incl. South Africa, Americas, Corsica, Sardinia, Turkey, Egypt, Greece).

    My PhD multidisciplinary requires first of all: History of economic thought, history of economy, ecology, history of civilizations, anthropology and philosophy. I think, I have a sufficiently broad and strong background in all these fields.

    The question is, does the single-disciplinary jury of five male economists have this necessary broad and multidisciplinary background? I guess not. My impression is, my co-director Prunetti’s knowledge in such fields is quite shallow, like a typical mainstream economist. He can explain himself if he thinks otherwise. Unlike Prunetti or any other economist in the jury, I am quite open to contrary opinions.

    How about Olivier Beaumais, professor in economics (University of Rouen Normandy), the most arrogant, impudent and aggressive person of the jury, who told me several times (during the zoom meeting) that “it was apparently very difficult to talk to me (as Prunetti already told him)”?

    I wonder, what is his background in fields like ecology and anthropology? Note that environmental economics, as a branch of mainstream economics, is about shallow ecology that views nature still as a resource or infrastructure for the human economy; not as the primary reproducer, not as a grand living organism of which we humans are only a part. My PhD requires but a deeper and broader understanding of ecology. What kind of ecosystems did Mr Beaumais study? Does he have experience in applied ecology? I guess not; otherwise, he would be very critical about the core beliefs and assumptions of mainstream economics.

    I wonder, how and why did Romani or Prunetti find Mr Beaumais, a typical mainstream economist, as chairman of the jury for a multidisciplinary PhD? Why wasn’t my PhD director Romani, who was really interested in the subject of my PhD, the chairman of the jury?

    In my opinion, the single-disciplinary jury was not qualified for my multidisciplinary PhD; neither technically, nor ethically.

  10. tuncali says:

    An addition to my response above, about my formal economics education:

    A section from “How Green Are Principle Texts” by Jack Reardon:
    https://www.inderscienceonline.com/doi/abs/10.1504/IJGE.2007.013067

    Adverse selection in the profession of economics?

    “Discrete [quantitative] analysis intrinsically involves value judgements with a concomitant acknowledgment of an ethical position – anathema to neoclassical economics which assumes a value-free ‘scientific’ economics. Yet, to abnegate one’s ethical position not only is intellectually dishonest, but as Colander (2003) laments, will cause our profession to “lose the more perceptive students who might leave the economics major [yet keeping] the less thoughtful student who thinks that economic policy is easy if only everyone understood economics” (p.83).”

    “The perceptive and historically-minded student can easily ascertain the intrinsic bias in neoclassical economics. As Dowd (2004) elaborates, “the rationale for [neoclassical] economics [is] the ‘science of economising, maximising and efficiency and, at the same time, by removing its analysis from history and becoming a theory of ‘statics’, it serves as a theory for working within and preserving the status quo” (p.83).”

    As I studied mainstream (neoclassical) economics at the University of Zurich, I was certainly among the more perceptive students, who realized that something was wrong with the standard economics education. A section from my PhD thesis (A3):

    “With my master degree in electrical engineering, with my keen interest in wildlife, evolution, animal behaviour and human history since childhood, and with my many years of hands-on experience in aquarium keeping, I already had a strong background in disciplines like mathematics, physics, linear and nonlinear dynamic systems and ecology as I started to study economics in 2002. With this broad background, I became aware of many misconceptions like premature mathematisation, inverse fitting, rational consumer (Homo economicus) and technological optimism quite early, as I began to study conventional economics. I didn’t know then, what I was learning was called neoclassical economics. I didn’t know much about the history of economic thought either, except for superficial information about famous names like Adam Smith and Karl Marx.”

  11. tuncali says:

    My response to following allegation of the PhD jury (see above report of the jury, excommunication notice)

    “The individual monitoring committee of Mr. Tunc Ali Kiitikcüoglu was seized of a conflict between the doctoral student and its thesis directors. This conflict materialized in particular by the publication of a post on the doctoral student’s website questioning Mr. Dominique Prunetti’s methodological orientations.”

    I guess, they mean the following paragraph that I published on 16 July 2020:
    https://www.tuncalik.com/2019/08/why-does-mainstream-economics-ignore-ecology-my-3-phd-progress-report-august-2019/#comment-2520

    “Another problem could be, Mr Prunetti tend to think, real and respectable science is only about quantitative analysis (well-known Newton or physics envy in the history of economic thought). My impression is, he lacks the experience and philosophical/historical background required for qualitative analysis. I wonder, what kind of PhD work he has supervised so far.”

    I still have the impression today that Mr Prunetti doesn’t have much experience in broad-view qualitative and historical analysis. As I explained above, he used stereotyped arguments about methodology and formalism as a tool to limit my multidisciplinary PhD to narrow and (for mainstream economics) harmless inquiries. Narrow formalism before quality of content; this is a well-known disease in mainstream economics (see “The Econocracy” by Earle,Moran,Perkins).

    It is explained in the official description of my PhD that my PhD requires broad-view qualitative and historical analysis. Apparently, my co-director Dominique Prunetti didn’t want to understand or accept this requirement.

    As feedback to my 3rd and 4th PhD progress reports, Prunetti wrote me by email that these reports didn’t meet academic criteria, without explaining concretely, what academic criteria he was talking about.

    I wrote him back several times and asked, what criteria he was talking about with concrete references to the content. He didn’t answer my questions. Because he took the path of “ambiguous and destructive criticism”, seemingly to devalue my whole work, I decided to publish my work in my personal blog site (tuncalik.com) to make it available and transparent for everyone. Otherwise, Prunetti could claim anything about my work without offering any justified explanation. Who would know or care?

    I didn’t publish any opinions about Prunetti’s private life; I informed my readers about the status and development of my PhD. If Prunetti can talk to other jury members claiming that “I am a difficult person with a confrontational posture”, I can at least inform my readers (to whom it may concern) about the status of my PhD, obstacles and difficulties etc., in an objective and critical manner. I plan to contact student and academician associations in Corsica that can support my case, and help me to defend my rights as a PhD candidate.

    In my PhD thesis (draft), I claim that “short-term monetary business interests” are among the biggest ideological and institutional barriers to ecological literacy in education, along with other barriers like industrial paradigm (machine world paradigm, mechanistic reductionism), Western ideology of progress, dominance of neoclassical/neoliberal economics and career path dependence.

    Once, as I was in Corte, Prunetti told me in a meeting that he didn’t like my sharp criticism of narrow business interests. When I asked him why, he admitted that he didn’t have any objective and scientific explanation; just a matter of taste, he simply didn’t like it.

    He may have his personal preferences, but these preferences are not relevant for my PhD (unless they can be explained in a scientific manner) that requires broad, multidisciplinary and critical thinking. If Prunetti expects conformity to his personal preferences, he is confusing “science of economy” with “Church of Neoclassical/Neoliberal Economism” (as many mainstream economists do), and therefore, he is not qualified to supervise such a critical PhD.

    Similarly, Prunetti may not like a phrase like “why does mainstream economics ignore ecology?” (which was accepted and found interesting by the PhD director Romani), but again, his personal taste is not relevant for my PhD, unless it can be explained in a scientific manner.

    I explained in the section A.8 of my PhD thesis (“Does mainstream economics really ignore ecology?”) why I accepted “ecological ignorance” as a fact (e.g. check mainstream university textbooks, lecture plans, mission statements, job market, mainstream economy journals and newspaper columns). Constructive criticism would be, first reading this section, then arguing that some of my arguments here don’t make sense, and explaining why.

    Another interesting and suspicious feature of the jury report is, that it makes no references at all to the content of my PhD thesis, not even for criticism, reducing the whole PhD affair to relations with directors (esp. with Prunetti), as if I haven’t written a 192-page PhD thesis, whose content complies to the official description of the PhD.

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