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Manfred Max-Neef, Acclaimed Chilean Economist and Environmentalist, Dies at 86

HeadlineAug 12, 2019
H13 manfred max neef chilean economist environmentalist right livelihood award chile
Image Credit: The Right Livelihood Award

Acclaimed Chilean economist and environmentalist Manfred Max-Neef died Thursday at the age of 86. Max-Neef taught economics at various colleges, including the University of California at Berkeley and the Austral University of Chile, where he taught until last year. He promoted development alternatives to address poverty. In 1993, he ran as an independent for president of Chile. Max-Neef won the Right Livelihood Award — known as the alternative Nobel Prize — in 1983, two years after the publication of his book “Outside Looking In: Experiences in 'Barefoot Economics.'” This is Manfred Max-Neef, speaking to Democracy Now! in 2010 in Bonn, Germany.

Manfred Max-Neef: “In poverty there is an enormous creativity. You cannot be an idiot if you want to survive. Every minute, you have to be thinking, what next? What do I know? What trick can I do here? What’s this and that, that, that, that? And so, your creativity is constant. In addition, I mean, that it’s combined, you know, with networks of cooperation, mutual aid, you know, and all sort of extraordinary things which you’ll no longer find in our dominant society, which is individualistic, greedy, egoistical.”

That was Chilean economist and environmentalist Manfred Max-Neef, speaking in 2010. He died last week at his home in Valdivia, Chile, at the age of 86. Click here to see the full interview.

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