Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Visions and Scenarios: Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy, Lowe's Political Economics, and the Methodology of Ecological Economics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Mathew Forstater

    (The Levy Economics Institute)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary alternative to mainstream environmental economics. Attempts have been made to outline a methodology for ecological economics and it is probably fair to say that, at this point, ecological economics takes a “pluralistic” approach. There are, however, some common methodological themes that run through the ecological economics literature. This paper argues that the works of Adolph Lowe and Robert Heilbroner can inform the development of some of those themes. Both authors were aware of the environmental challenges facing humanity from quite early on in their work, and quite ahead of time. In addition, both Lowe’s Economics and Sociology (and related writings) and Heilbroner’s “Worldly Philosophy” (itself influenced by this work of Lowe) recognized the endogeneity of the natural environment, the impact of human activity on the environment, and the implications of this for questions of method. Lowe and Heilbroner also became increasingly concerned with issues related to the environment over time, such that these issues became of prime importance in their frameworks. This work deals directly with ecological and environmental issues; both authors also dealt with other issues that relate to the environmental challenge, such as technological change. But it is not only their work that explicitly addresses the environment or relates to environmental challenges that is relevant to the concerns of ecological economists. Both Heilbroner’s “Worldly Philosophy” and Lowe’s “Political Economics” offer insights that may prove useful in developing a methodology of ecological economics. Ecological economists have taken a pluralistic approach to methodology, but the common themes in this work regarding the importance and nature of vision, analysis (including structural analysis), scenarios, implementation, the necessity of working backwards, the role for imagination, rejecting the positive/normative dichotomy, and so on, all are issues that have been elaborated in Lowe’s work, and in ways that are relevant to ecological economics. The goal of the paper is actually quite modest: to make ecological economists aware of the work of the two authors, and get them interested enough to explore the possible contribution of these ideas to their methodological approach.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mhet/papers/0411/0411002.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Method and Hist of Econ Thought with number 0411002.

    as in new window
    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 03 Nov 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0411002

    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 24
    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords: Keywords: vision; scenario; analysis; Adolph Lowe; Robert Heilbroner; methodology of ecological economics;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Mathew Forstater, 1999. "Working Backwards: Instrumental analysis as a policy discovery procedure," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 5-18.
    2. Heilbroner, Robert, 1990. "Analysis and Vision in the History of Modern Economic Thought," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1097-114, September.
    3. Norgaard, Richard B., 1989. "The case for methodological pluralism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 37-57, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. O'Hara, Phillip Anthony, 2009. "Political economy of climate change, ecological destruction and uneven development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 223-234, December.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0411002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.