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Does ecological economics have a future?

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  • Anderson, Blake
  • M'Gonigle, Michael
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    Abstract

    This paper addresses the role of neoclassical methodologies in ecological economics and the contradictions these methodologies pose to the field's critical founding principles. We first consider Robert Costanza's treatment of Nicholas Stern's Global Deal and then survey climate change-related articles published in this journal over the past five years. This survey reveals how mainstream (neoclassical) methodologies dominate discourse, and do so by marginalizing more critical (political economy) analyses. This situation imperils the field's founding vision of a no-growth ‘steady state’; it also fails to address the (related) growth dynamics of capitalism. Without such a critical treatment, the field's formal embrace of ‘methodological pluralism’ actually entails an ideological empiricism that renders ecological economics theoretically incoherent. This situation undermines the field's historical promise as an alternative economic paradigm. Ecological economics now faces a problematic future. Its survival in a form faithful to its founding vision will require an explicit choice to address its internal contradictions, and reinvent itself in ways relevant to our contemporary context. Without such a choice, ecological economics will likely succumb to an implicit acceptance of the hegemony of mainstream economic methodologies and their pro-growth imperatives.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 84 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 37-48

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:84:y:2012:i:c:p:37-48

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Climate change; Growth; Mainstream economics; Discourse; Contradiction; Paradigm;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Kirsten, Selder, 2014. "Renewable Energy Sources Act and Trading of Emission Certificates: A national and a supranational tool direct energy turnover to renewable electricity-supply in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 302-312.
    2. Clive L. Spash, 2013. "The Shallow or the Deep Ecological Economics Movement?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2013_01, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Lo, Alex, 2014. "The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics," MPRA Paper 49543, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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