Herman Daly was born in 1938. He took a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1967, became an Associate Professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1968 and a full professor there in 1973. In 1976 he was a recipient of the university's Distinguished Research Master Award. He was Alumni Professor of Economics at LSU from 1983 to 1988.
During his time at LSU Daly was also Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Ceará, Brazil (1968), a research associate at Yale University (1969-70), Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Resources and Environmental Studies of the Australian National University (1980) and a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Brazil (1983). From 1988 to 1994, he was Senior Economist in the Environment Department of the World Bank, and since 1994 he has been Senior Research Scholar at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.
In 1989, Daly was one of the key figures in the foundation of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), and served as Associate Editor of its journal Ecological Economics. ISEE is the major forum that links economists and ecologists, and academics and environmental activists. Through ISEE 'ecological economics' is coming to be perceived as distinct from conventional 'environmental economics' and is gaining credibility as a discipline in its own right.
Daly's professional concerns have been two: the relationship of the economy and the environment, and the relationship of the economy to ethics. The two concerns are obviously themselves related and in pursuing them he has made a masterly synthesis of the application of classical concepts of capital and income to resources and the environment, the laws of thermodynamics, and the insights of ecology, particularly in relation to levels of flows of materials and energy through economic systems. This synthesis has resulted in a quantum leap in understanding as to why the economy is destroying the environment, which has deeply influenced the whole course of the debate as to what should be done about it.
In 1996, Daly received the Heineken Prize for Environmental Science awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1999 the Norwegian Sophie Prize. In 2001, he received the Leontief Prize for advancing the frontiers of economic thought, and in 2002 the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. In 2010, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the National Council for Science and the Environment.
In addition to his contribution to the understanding of the economy-environment relation, Daly's ethical writing is also important. He is the author of many books and has also published over 100 articles in scholarly journals and magazines. Not many economists choose a theologian as co-author, as Daly did with John Cobb, in their joint work, For the Common Good.
School of Public Affairs
University of Maryland