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Political economy of climate change, ecological destruction and uneven development


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  • O'Hara, Phillip Anthony
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    The purpose of this paper is to analyze climate change and ecological destruction through the prism of the core general principles of political economy. The paper starts with the principle of historical specificity, and the various waves of climate change through successive cooler and warmer periods on planet Earth, including the most recent climate change escalation through the open circuit associated with the treadmill of production. Then we scrutinize the principle of contradiction associated with the disembedded economy, social costs, entropy and destructive creation. The principle of uneven development is then explored through core-periphery dynamics, ecologically unequal exchange, metabolic rift and asymmetric global (in)justice. The principles of circular and cumulative causation (CCC) and uncertainty are then related to climate change dynamics through non-linear transformations, complex interaction of dominant variables, and threshold effects. Climate change and ecological destruction are impacting on most areas, especially the periphery, earlier and more intensely than previously thought likely. A political economy approach to climate change is able to enrich the analysis of ecological economics and put many critical themes in a broad context.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 223-234

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2009:i:2:p:223-234

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    Keywords: Political economy Principles Climate change Ecological destruction Uneven development;


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    1. Mathew Forstater, 2004. "Visions and Scenarios: Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy, Lowe's Political Economics, and the Methodology of Ecological Economics," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_413, Levy Economics Institute.
    2. Forstater, Mathew, 2004. "Visions and scenarios: Heilbroner's worldly philosophy, Lowe's political economics, and the methodology of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 17-30, November.
    3. Schor, Juliet B., 2005. "Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 309-320, November.
    4. Mathew Forstater, 2004. "Visions and Scenarios: Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy, Lowe's Political Economics, and the Methodology of Ecological Economics," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0411002, EconWPA.
    5. Burkett, Paul, 2004. "Marx's reproduction schemes and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 457-467, August.
    6. Berger, Sebastian, 2008. "K. William Kapp's theory of social costs and environmental policy: Towards political ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 244-252, September.
    7. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
    8. O'Hara, Sabine U. & Stagl, Sigrid, 2002. "Endogenous preferences and sustainable development," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 511-527.
    9. Hornborg, Alf, 2006. "Footprints in the cotton fields: The Industrial Revolution as time-space appropriation and environmental load displacement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 74-81, August.
    10. Phillip Anthony O’Hara, 2007. "Heterodox Political Economy Specialization and Interconnection - Concepts of Contradiction, Heterogeneous Agents, Uneven Development," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar, vol. 4(1), pages 99-120.
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    Cited by:
    1. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
    2. Phillip Anthony O’Hara, 2013. "Policies and Institutions for Moderating Deep Recessions, Debt Crises and Financial Instabilities," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(1), pages 19-49, March.


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