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Ecosystems, strong sustainability and the classical circular economy

Listed author(s):
  • Martins, Nuno Ornelas

In this article I argue that notions such as ecosystem services and strong sustainability can be best understood and developed within the theoretical framework advanced by the classical political economists, in which a circular conception of the economy is provided. I also argue that the development of notions such as ecosystem services and strong sustainability has been constrained by the dominance of neoclassical economics, which provides a linear conception of the economy and leads to an emphasis on weak sustainability, which in turn springs from an emphasis on substitutability and aggregate capital. When assessing the relevance of classical political economy for studying ecosystem services and strong sustainability I consider not only the contributions of the classical political economists, but also more recent contributions which draw upon the classical perspective, such as Piero Sraffa's and Amartya Sen's.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800915303621
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 129 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 32-39

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:129:y:2016:i:c:p:32-39
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.06.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
  2. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
  3. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720, Diciembre.
  4. Gómez-Baggethun, Erik & de Groot, Rudolf & Lomas, Pedro L. & Montes, Carlos, 2010. "The history of ecosystem services in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1209-1218, April.
  5. Ballet, Jérôme & Koffi, Jean-Marcel & Pelenc, Jérôme, 2013. "Environment, justice and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 28-34.
  6. Vivian Walsh, 2000. "Smith After Sen," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 5-25.
  7. ., 1999. "The assessment of capital adequacy," Chapters,in: Handbook of Banking Regulation and Supervision in the United Kingdom, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  8. Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Ecosystem services: From eye-opening metaphor to complexity blinder," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1219-1227, April.
  9. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
  10. Vivian Walsh, 2003. "Sen after Putnam," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 315-394.
  11. Pelenc, Jérôme & Ballet, Jérôme, 2015. "Strong sustainability, critical natural capital and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 36-44.
  12. Ballet, Jérôme & Bazin, Damien & Dubois, Jean-Luc & Mahieu, François-Régis, 2011. "A note on sustainability economics and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1831-1834, September.
  13. Polishchuk, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2012. "Beyond “benefits”? Looking at ecosystem services through the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 103-111.
  14. Demals, Thierry & Hyard, Alexandra, 2014. "Is Amartya Sen's sustainable freedom a broader vision of sustainability?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 33-38.
  15. Amartya Sen, 2005. "Walsh on Sen after Putnam," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 107-113.
  16. Vivian Walsh, 2008. "Freedom, Values and Sen: Towards a Morally Enriched Classical Economic Theory," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 199-232.
  17. Birkin, Frank & Polesie, Thomas, 2013. "The relevance of epistemic analysis to sustainability economics and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 144-152.
  18. Ronald L. Meek, 1961. "Mr. Sraffa'S Rehabilitation Of Classical Economics1," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 8(2), pages 119-136, 06.
  19. Martins, Nuno, 2011. "Sustainability economics, ontology and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-4.
  20. Martha Nussbaum, 2003. "Tragedy and Human Capabilities: A response to Vivian Walsh," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 413-418.
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