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Understanding Progress: A Heterodox Approach

Author

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  • David Barkin

    () (Department of Economics, Metropolitan Autonomous University–Xochimilco, Calzada del Hueso 1100, Villa Quietud, Coyoacan, Mexico City, DF 04960, Mexico)

  • Blanca Lemus

    (Department of Economics, Metropolitan Autonomous University–Xochimilco, Calzada del Hueso 1100, Villa Quietud, Coyoacan, Mexico City, DF 04960, Mexico)

Abstract

This paper examines the possibility of understanding and measuring well-being as a result of “progress” on the basis of today’s dominant epistemological framework. Market criteria distort social values by allowing purchasing power to define priorities, likening luxury goods to basic needs; in the process they reinforce patterns of discrimination against disadvantaged social groups and women, introducing fatal distortions into the analysis. Similarly, because there are no appropriate mechanisms to price natural resources adequately, the market overlooks the consequences of the abuse of natural resources, degrading the quality of life, individually and collectively, or—in the framework of Latin American indigenous groups—foreclosing the possibility of “living well”. We critique the common vision of the official development discourse that places its faith on technological innovations to resolve these problems. The analysis points to the need for new models of social and environmental governance to promote progress, approaches like those suggested in the paper that are inconsistent with public policies currently in place. At present, the social groups forging institutions to assure their own well-being and ecological balance are involved in local processes, often in opposition to the proposals of the political leaders in their countries.

Suggested Citation

  • David Barkin & Blanca Lemus, 2013. "Understanding Progress: A Heterodox Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-15, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:417-431:d:23221
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Krausmann, Fridolin & Gingrich, Simone & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Haberl, Helmut & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2009. "Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2696-2705, August.
    2. Erb, Karl-Heinz & Krausmann, Fridolin & Gaube, Veronika & Gingrich, Simone & Bondeau, Alberte & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina & Haberl, Helmut, 2009. "Analyzing the global human appropriation of net primary production -- processes, trajectories, implications. An introduction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 250-259, December.
    3. David Barkin & Mario E. Fuente Carrasco & Daniel Tagle Zamora, 2012. "La significación de una Economía Ecológica radical," Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Red Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, vol. 19, pages 1-14, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tuuli Hirvilammi & Tuula Helne, 2014. "Changing Paradigms: A Sketch for Sustainable Wellbeing and Ecosocial Policy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-16, April.
    2. Gemma Burford & Elona Hoover & Ismael Velasco & Svatava Janoušková & Alicia Jimenez & Georgia Piggot & Dimity Podger & Marie K. Harder, 2013. "Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(7), pages 1-25, July.
    3. David Barkin & Blanca Lemus, 2014. "Rethinking the Social and Solidarity Society in Light of Community Practice," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-14, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    progress; sustainability; epistemology; alternatives; autonomy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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