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The Crises of Environment and Social Reproduction: Understanding their Linkages

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  • Maria S. Floro
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    Abstract

    This paper explores the interconnections between the crisis of care, the deepening ecological crisis and growth and accumulation processes. They are critical challenges that mainstream economics fail to comprehensively address, thus resulting in growing tensions between the incessant pursuit of economic growth and material consumption on one hand and the ability of societies to care for their people and for the ecosystems upon which they live. The paper argues that the crucial interdependence between the market economy and the care/reproductive economy and between the entire human (economic) system and the ecosystems must be recognized in economic thinking and policymaking. Building on the work of several feminist economists and ecological economists, it demonstrates that an obsessive preoccupation with material economic growth in the economic paradigm not only undermines the care requirements of human maintenance, social reproduction and the sustainability of the ecosystem, but also actively contributes to crisis creation and intensification. The paper also examines the impacts of rising inequality on the care economy and carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Finally, it provides some building blocks for developing a new economic paradigm leading to gender-sensitive and environmentally-aware economic policies.

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    File URL: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/pdf/upload/2012-4.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-04.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2012-04

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    Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

    Related research

    Keywords: crisis of care; ecological crisis; gender; inequality; economic growth;

    References

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    1. Jon D. Wisman, 2010. "Inequality, Social Respectability, Political Power and Environmental Devastation," Working Papers 2010-09 JEL classificatio, American University, Department of Economics.
    2. Richard Howarth & Richard Norgaard, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers and the social discount rate," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 337-358, August.
    3. Grown, Caren & Elson, Diane & Cagatay, Nilufer, 2000. "Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1145-1156, July.
    4. Nelson, J.A., 2013. "Ethics and the economist: What climate change demands of us," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 145-154.
    5. Richard B. Howarth, 2003. "Discounting and sustainability: towards reconciliation," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 87-97.
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