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The Approach of Ecological Economics

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  • John M. Gowdy

    () (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA)

  • Jon D. Erickson

    () (School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

Abstract

This paper discusses the major tenets of ecological economics - including value pluralism, methodological pluralism, and multi-criteria policy assessment. Ecological economics offers viable alternatives to the theoretical foundations and policy recommendations of neoclassical welfare economics. A revolution in neoclassical economics is currently taking place and the core assumptions of welfare economics are being replaced with more realistic models of consumer and firm behavior. But we argue that these new theoretical and empirical findings are largely ignored in applied work and policy applications in environmental economics. As the only heterodox school of economics focusing on the human economy both as a social system and as one imbedded in the biophysical universe, and thus both holistic and scientifically based, ecological economics is poised to play a leading role in recasting the scope and method of economic science.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Gowdy & Jon D. Erickson, 2004. "The Approach of Ecological Economics," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0402, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0402
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