The Crises of Environment and Social Reproduction: Understanding their Linkages
This paper explores the interconnections between the crisis of care, the deepening ecological crisis and growth and accumulation processes. They are critical challenges that mainstream economics fail to comprehensively address, thus resulting in growing tensions between the incessant pursuit of economic growth and material consumption on one hand and the ability of societies to care for their people and for the ecosystems upon which they live. The paper argues that the crucial interdependence between the market economy and the care/reproductive economy and between the entire human (economic) system and the ecosystems must be recognized in economic thinking and policymaking. Building on the work of several feminist economists and ecological economists, it demonstrates that an obsessive preoccupation with material economic growth in the economic paradigm not only undermines the care requirements of human maintenance, social reproduction and the sustainability of the ecosystem, but also actively contributes to crisis creation and intensification. The paper also examines the impacts of rising inequality on the care economy and carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Finally, it provides some building blocks for developing a new economic paradigm leading to gender-sensitive and environmentally-aware economic policies.
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