Erica Schoenberger: State, City, Market

Erica Schoenberger was educated at Stanford University and the University of California–Berkeley. She is a professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering (formerly the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering) and has a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology. Her recent book is Nature, Choice and Social Power (Routledge, 2014). It takes a historical and geographical approach to understanding how we got into our present environmental mess and what is preventing us from addressing it appropriately.


Where do markets and cities come from? The conventional story about the inconvenience of barter leading to monetized commercial markets is wrong. Schoenberger will argue that the process of state building in medieval Europe led to the creation of cities and markets. Building states, especially where this involves warfare, requires liquidity and the ability to move resources rapidly across space. That's where markets are so helpful. Schoenberger will also argue that what makes modern cities so creative is partly that they are cities with big problems to solve.

Cosponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
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