Dr. Clair Brown is Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Work, Technology, and Society at the University of California, Berkeley. Clair has published research on many aspects of how economies function, including the standard of living, wage determination, inequality, sustainability, high-tech industries, and development engineering. Her books include American Standards of Living, 1919-1988, and Buddhist Economics: An enlightened approach to the dismal science (Bloomsbury Press, 2017). Clair’s economic approach and life as an economist is published in Eminent Economists II – Their Life and Work Philosophies (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Her book Buddhist Economics describes how to create a sustainable economy that supports a comfortable, meaningful life for all people and cares for the human spirit. A Buddhist economy is compared to a free market economy, which is based on self-interest and materialism. Her book makes economic explanations accessible to everyone, so you don’t need to be an economist or a Buddhist. You only need to care about other people and the planet. See http://buddhisteconomics.net/
Buddhist Economics Book trailer: https://youtu.be/88RX5A2iezs
What do I do best?
I feel at my best when exploring new ideas in economics with my students, colleagues, and friends, and see their minds come alive. As we brainstorm how to create the economy we want—one that provides shared prosperity and sustainability—we push our economic thinking forward. Together we can go beyond an economy focused on selfish egos and materialism, and create an economy that supports living a meaningful, worthy life as we care for the Earth. See http://buddhisteconomics.net/ I hope you will read my book and send me your thoughts.
What makes you the best version of yourself?
When meeting new challenges, I join with others who share my values and goals, and push for our goals related to economic justice and planet sustainability. Our synergies make us powerful and able to fight back against unjust, self-serving forces such as Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Pharma, and Big Military. I am grateful for living a comfortable life and using my education to work with others for the world we want, and need.
What are my aspirations?
My aspirations are for us to come together to create meaningful lives for everyone, as we care for the planet. My book Buddhist Economics: an enlightened approach to the dismal science starts with the understanding that people are interdependent with each other and with the planet, and people have a basic goodness even as they care for themselves. Then I lay out the framework for creating a sustainable economy with shared prosperity that supports the human spirit. Stay in touch with Buddhist Economics www.facebook.com/Buddhist-Economics-973198039490789/.
My Biggest Success?
A big accomplishment for me has been reaching out to and learning from people around the world, as we work together to stop selfish, materialistic forces from hurting people and the planet. Although we are in a dark period, many people are coming together to demand changes to heal the planet and care for people. I will continue to fight to keep the torch of meaningful, holistic economics alive and pushing forward.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Being in a male-dominated field of economics is always a challenge. Female economists, from students to experienced faculty and practitioners, continue to face discrimination and sexist behavior. As women, we know to expect this, to fight against it, and to help each other. Although things are better today than forty years ago, we still have a long way to go to create a profession (and world) without race and gender bias.
May we heal Mother Earth as we heal ourselves, for the benefit of all.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Women professors who inspired me, such as Barbara Bergmann, Herma Hill Kay, Arlie Hochschild, Christina Maslach, and Alice Agogino.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Places by the shore, Tampa, Baja, Australia, plus spiritual places in northern India and Kyoto, Japan.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Family photos, my ceramic art.
My Current Passions?
Creating ceramic sculptures at Richmond Art Center. Working with my students at Univ of California, Berkeley on holistic economics. Working with 350 Bay Area and Sierra Club to create a low-carbon economy to mitigate climate change.