I was born in Switzerland (1968), and grown up in Ankara, Turkey. I live and work today in Switzerland. I am married, and have a daughter. I worked recently as financial analyst and investment consultant for the renewable energy industry.
Though I studied engineering, economy and finance my real passion has always been nature. 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. As to sustainability, my favorite slogan is maximum ecology minimum technology. With technology I mean manmade tools and equipments; not the more refined technology of nature.
Almost for everyone there are some brilliant people who add new dimensions to your way of thinking. David Attenborough is for me one of them. I watched his every documentary on wildlife, and I owe him much concerning my fascination for and knowledge about nature. His documentary film on social insects Life in the Undergrowth is for me an absolute masterpiece.
Richard Dawkins’s Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype, Jared Diamond’s Collapse, Bertrand Russel’s articles on philosophy and religion are for me invaluable works which added much to my understanding in evolution, environmental history and philosophy. I can never forget to mention Diana Walstad’s The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium and George W. Barlow’s Cichlid Fishes.
The Nobel Price owner J. Stiglitz’s brave criticism on IMF is for me a strong eye opener against every kind of blind ideology and dogma like the unquestioned growth and development myth in the capitalist economy. Largely ignoring the environment, narrow-minded pure focus on human-production whereby forgetting the production capacity of our ecosystem are for me the biggest mistakes of the neoclassical theory of economy.
I think, sustainable life on our planet requires most importantly a wide-spread environmental consciousness, population control and renewable energy. The old myths of economy like purely manmade development and growth must be redefined because we need first of all an intact ecosystem for well-being. It is ridiculous to have an apparent growth manifested by some dollar numbers grotesquely contradicted by a diminishing quality of life, most significantly in the third world. Development should actually mean a better life for the majority; not more manmade tools or more material consumption. The old neoclassical economics full of ideologies and myths will hopefully leave its place to the more rational ecological economics.
My favorite hobbies are aquariums, photography, piano and tennis. I used to watch football when I was younger, but nowadays I watch only tennis, especially if Roger Federer plays. I like to listen to every kind of music including oriental, classical and jazz. My favorite composers are Bach, Scarlatti and Münir Nurettin Selçuk; my favorite pianists Oscar Peterson and Horowitz. The novels which impressed me most are Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Stendhal’s The Red and The Black, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Sommerset Maugham’s The Moon and The Sixpence and Oğuz Atay’s Tutunamayanlar (loosers). As to poetry my favorites are Ömer Hayyam, Orhan Veli and Nazım Hikmet.
My prominent heroes from history are Socrates, Cicero, Galileo, Ömer Hayyam, Gandhi, Kanuni (law maker) Sultan Süleyman, Yunus Emre, Darwin and of course Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Tunç Ali Kütükçüoğlu, 20. June 2009, Zürich
Update on 2. January 2019:
Much has happened since 2009. First of all, I look much older.
After all its tedious education, I finally decided in 2012 not to work for the finance industry anymore. I wrote following statement in my CV: “I don’t work for socially and environmentally irresponsible industries like defense, finance and chemistry (see below, why I left the CFA society)”.
In 2012 I founded my own software company named Finaquant Analytics GmbH which was destined to be a rather unsuccessful entrepreneurial adventure. I tried to sell my own calculation engine software (table functions in C#/.NET) without success. I stopped working on this project in 2015. During this hard and stressful endeavour I changed my mind radically about software development: I decided to divert to open-source technologies like Python whenever possible, rather than closed-source and monopolistic technologies like the C# of Microsoft.
In 2013, I began to write philosophical blog articles about economy and environment (ekonomi ve çevre) for the Turkish audience. Until today (January 2019), I have published more than 80 articles on my personal blog site. Some of them like the “most popular myths of mainstream economics” or “the tragedy of Easter Island” could reach quite a broad audience with more than 20 thousand readers. My Turkish twitter account for economy and environment has more than 4700 followers today. Not too many, but also not too few for an amateur blog writer. I plan to publish my articles also in English beginning from 2019.
In 2015 I started with a PhD at the University of Economics in Izmir, Turkey. My PhD topic was: Why mainstream (neoclassical) economics ignore ecology? Reasons and consequences, including history of economic thought.
In 2016 I stopped my PhD study in Izmir due to a number of reasons (like neoclassical lectures and their examinations that I perceived as a waste of my limited time, plus lack of multi-disciplinary approach to economic problems) and decided to continue with it at the University of Corsica. The official acceptance of my PhD offer was rather a lengthy process; I had two write three subsequent versions of my initial PhD offer. My third version was finally accepted in November of 2018, and I could officially begin with my PhD at the University of Corsica in Corte, France.
From 2015 to 2018 I developed an (almost) complete software solution for Travel and Assignment Planning for a Swiss transport consultancy company (ETC Transport Consultants GmbH) that had the mandate from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT). This is how I earn money for a living: Senior Data Analyst and Software Developer
In 2018 I developed a passionate interest in ecological farming (permaculture, agro-forestry, natural farming etc.). After reading lots of eco-farming books (M. Shepard, T. Hemenway, M. Fukuoka, M. Crawford, J.R. Smith etc.) and visiting some real-life permaculture projects, I started a project for transforming an organic orchard of my family into a multi-cultural forest garden. I always knew that I was much more a naturalist than an engineer or an economist. Time will show, if I can also be a professional author.
Within the last ten years I visited many countries including Corsica, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, Austria, Turkey, Greece, California and Croatia, sometimes with my family, but in most cases alone. I was especially impressed by the natural wonders like cloud forests of Costa Rica, coral islands of Belize, terraced pools of Semuc Champey in Guatemala and beautiful highland forests of Kafkasör in Turkey. I use my instagram account like a quick visual reminder of all the interesting places I have visited.
Meanwhile, my little daughter Elif grew to become 9 years old. She plays accordion and piano, she can speak in two mother languages (Turkish and German), she is learning two other languages (Spanish and English), she is attending a Wing-Chun course since several years, and she started playing tennis this year (2018). She is now at the fourth class of her primary school in Feldmeilen (skipped 2. year).
I don’t trust the industrial and neoclassical (corporate-friendly) education system of Switzerland very much, that primarily aims to train well-behaved, rule-conscious, obedient and industrious professionals for big corporations, who don’t ask uncomfortable questions about the big picture, like the whole economic system based on exploitation of nature and people (i.e. Western imperial lifestyle). So I try to supplement her education in fields like music, philosophy, literature and nature.
Tunç Ali Kütükçüoğlu, 2. January 2019, Feldmeilen, Switzerland