When the Great Recession hit in 2007, I was a new owner of a local retail/service shop. By 2009, I was bankrupted and out of business. I learned one core lesson from the Great Recession: I needed to learn how the economy worked.
While managing development aid projects in Kenya between 2009-2013, I came to understand the economy in an entirely new way: it's just people surviving. The real action of "the macroeconomy" is in how each of us figures out our daily survival.
These two experiences have shaped what I have worked for and studied through my graduate career. I am drawn to courses and literatures that emphasize non-market aspects of the economy because the market had personally failed me during the Great Recession, and also, I have seen people surviving without access to any markets whatsoever.
Starting with development economics led me to environmental and ecological economics; further down the rabbit hole I discovered property rights economics which dates back to history of thought (especially the old institutionalists). It all circled back to feminist economics which engaged my own version of daily survival: a literal laundry list of caring responsibilities.
None of these literatures place the market at the center of the economy and they actually harmonize with one another. Naturally, I want to learn more...
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I can do economics anywhere, and sometimes that means on the unfinished laundry.