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The Need for and Meaning of Social Ecological Economics

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  • Clive L. Spash

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Abstract

Ecological economics has arisen over a period of three decades with a strong emphasis on the essential need to recognise the embeddedness of the economy in the biophysical. However, that element of realism is not matched by an equally well informed social theory. Indeed the tendency has been to adopt mainstream economic concepts, theories and models formulated of the basis of a formal mathematical deductivist approach that pays little or no attention to social reality. Similarly mainstream economic methods are employed as pragmatic devices for communication. As a result ecological economics has failed to develop its own consistent and coherent theory and failed to make the link between the social and the economic. In order to reverse this situation the social and political economy must be put to the fore and that is the aim of social ecological economics. This paper provides a brief overview of the arguments for such a development. The prospect is of unifying a range of critical thought on the social and environmental crises with the aim of informing the necessary social ecological transformation of the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive L. Spash, 2017. "The Need for and Meaning of Social Ecological Economics," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2017_02, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2017_02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clive L. Spash, 2011. "Social Ecological Economics: Understanding the Past to See the Future," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 340-375, April.
    2. Clive L. Spash, 1999. "The Development of Environmental Thinking in Economics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 8(4), pages 413-435, November.
    3. Spash, Clive L. & Vatn, Arild, 2006. "Transferring environmental value estimates: Issues and alternatives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 379-388, December.
    4. Spash, Clive L., 2012. "New foundations for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 36-47.
    5. Clive L. Spash, 2015. "The Dying Planet Index: Life, Death and Man's Domination of Nature," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-7, February.
    6. Clive L. Spash & Anthony Ryan, 2012. "Economic Schools of Thought on the Environment: Investigating Unity and Division," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(5), pages 1091-1121.
    7. Spash, Clive L., 2007. "The economics of climate change impacts a la Stern: Novel and nuanced or rhetorically restricted?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 706-713, September.
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    Keywords

    ecological economics; social economy; political ecology; political economy; social ecological transformation; biophysical reality; mainstream economics; neoliberal environmentalism;

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