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Does ecological economics have a future?

  • Anderson, Blake
  • M'Gonigle, Michael
Registered author(s):

    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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    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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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