Dirk Philipsen is an Associate Research Professor of economic history at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. He was educated in Germany and the U.S., and holds degrees in economics and history. His work and teaching is focused on sustainability and the history of capitalism.
He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Franklin Humanities Center at Duke, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. He has published on the history of modern capitalism, movements for social and economic justice, as well as race and race relations. His first book, We Were the People, chronicles the collapse of communism in East Germany and was published by Duke University Press. Recently, he served as editor and contributor to a volume on Green Business, published by SAGE. His latest work, The Little Big Number - How GDP Came to Rule the World, And What to Do About it, was published May 2015 by Princeton University Press. His current research focuses on alternative ways to think about the goals and direction of economic activity, away from indiscriminate growth and toward smart development; the role of markets; and sustainability as an ethical imperative of our time.