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Ecological Economics Of Sustainable Development


  • Werner Hediger

    (Agricultural Economics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland)


Although sustainability became a watchword in recent years, the idea is by no means new. It has a long tradition in various domains ranging from a basic forestry principle, to economic growth and nature conservation objectives, and the present challenge of sustainable development. The latter does not only involve an extremely important transformation of the ecologically based concept of physical sustainability to the context of social and economic development. It implies the necessity for a holistic approach to integrate some basic principles of sustainability that have been developed in economics as well as in ecology. Since none of these traditional concepts is sufficient for sustainable development, which means conservation and change is balanced through an adaptive process, new approaches are required that extend the scope of analysis towards an ecological-economic synthesis. Such an integrated approach must particularly overcome the gap between the schools of weak and strong sustainability, and integrate principles from bio-economics and the economics of environmental conservation, along with comprehensive concepts of needs and wants, social equity, and ecosystem integrity. These are suitably represented in a socio-economic value principle, and usefully formalized in an intertemporal allocation framework with social and ecological sustainability constraints that allow the benchmarking of feasible and viable sustainable development paths. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment

Suggested Citation

  • Werner Hediger, 1997. "Ecological Economics Of Sustainable Development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(3), pages 101-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:5:y:1997:i:3:p:101-109
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1719(199712)5:3<101::AID-SD77>3.0.CO;2-X

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Common, Mick & Perrings, Charles, 1992. "Towards an ecological economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-34, July.
    2. John M. Hartwick, 1978. "Substitution Among Exhaustible Resources and Intergenerational Equity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 347-354.
    3. Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-149.
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    Cited by:

    1. James Keirstead & Matt Leach, 2008. "Bridging the gaps between theory and practice: a service niche approach to urban sustainability indicators," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 329-340.

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