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Complementary system perspectives in ecological macroeconomics — The example of transition investments during the crisis

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  • Røpke, Inge

Abstract

Globally, societies are facing a number of interrelated environmental, economic and social crises. This paper is intended to contribute to the development of an ecological macroeconomics that addresses these multiple crises in combination. Insights from different research communities will be included in this effort. Taking an ecological economic understanding of sustainability as the point of departure, and inspired by systems thinking, it is discussed which economic sub-systems should be in focus for sustainability transitions, and whether relevant guides for sustainability can be formulated for these systems. In particular, the focus is on systems that are decisive for resource consumption and pollution although their influence on these is indirect. A simple typology of sub-systems is suggested and applied in relation to an example that highlights the importance of the interplay between macroeconomic, provision and distribution systems. The example concerns investments in sustainability transitions of provision systems and demonstrates the complexities of implementing such transformations during the economic crisis. It also addresses the need for ecological macroeconomics to develop a third position beyond austerity policies and Keynesian approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Røpke, Inge, 2016. "Complementary system perspectives in ecological macroeconomics — The example of transition investments during the crisis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 237-245.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:237-245
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.03.018
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