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The Development of Environmental Thinking in Economics

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  • Clive L. Spash

Abstract

There has always been a sub-group of established economists trying to convey an environmental critique of the mainstream. This paper traces their thinking into the late 20th century via the development of associations and journals in the USA and Europe. There is clearly a divergence between the conformity to neo-classical economics favoured by resource and environmental economists and the acceptance of more radical critiques apparent in ecological economics. Thus, the progressive elements of ecological economics are increasingly incompatible with those practising neo-classical environmental economics who try to reduce all concepts to fit within the confines of their models. A group of people can be identified who teach that ecological economics is nothing more than a name for the link between mainstream economics and ecology. A new movement and paradigm are unnecessary for such ends. This viewpoint is argued to be inconsistent with the roots and ideas of the ecological economics movement. Ecological economics is seen here to be synthesising various types of economics (e.g., socialist, institutional, environmental) and moving back to explicit inclusion of ethical issues in the mode of classical political economy. This inevitably means rediscovering neglected past works and exploring new ways of thinking about socio-economics and the environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive L. Spash, 1999. "The Development of Environmental Thinking in Economics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 8(4), pages 413-435, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev8:ev821
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Towards the integration of social, economic and ecological knowledge," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_04, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. Spash, Clive L., 2017. "The Need for and Meaning of Social Ecological Economics," SRE-Discussion Papers 5500, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Nadeau, Robert L., 2015. "The unfinished journey of ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 101-108.
    4. Schulz, Christopher & Martin-Ortega, Julia & Glenk, Klaus & Ioris, Antonio A.R., 2017. "The Value Base of Water Governance: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 241-249.
    5. Óscar Carpintero, 2013. "When Heterodoxy Becomes Orthodoxy: Ecological Economics in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(5), pages 1287-1314, November.
    6. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:166-179 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Leslie Carnoye & Rita Lopes, 2015. "Participatory Environmental Valuation: A Comparative Analysis of Four Case Studies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(8), pages 1-23, July.
    8. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The shallow or the deep ecological economics movement?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 351-362.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environment; ethics; ecological economics; history of thought; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General

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