Ecological economics

research field on the interdependence of human economies and natural ecosystems

Ecological economics or eco-economics refers to both a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of academic research that aims to address the interdependence and coevolution of human economies and natural ecosystems over time and space.

Environmental scientist sampling water.
CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links

Quotes edit

Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F edit

  • There are two basic ways market organization is brought about... Some combination of the two is usual the case:
    1. Strategic structuring, informal or formal, whereby social agents, including the state, establish a rule regime regulating market access and transactions...
    2. Emergent structuring, whereby participants discover or adopt certain similar strategies within bounded rationality and situations with certain opportunity structures and incentive structures. Social network and ecological properties result in relatively well-defined aggregate performance characteristics...
    • Tom R. Burns, The shaping of social organization (1987) p. 127.
  • The new paradigm may be called a holistic world view, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. It may also be called an ecological view, if the term "ecological" is used in a much broader and deeper sense than usual. Deep ecological awareness recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical process of nature.
    • Fritjof Capra, Gunter A. Pauli (1995) Steering business toward sustainability. p. 3 cited in: Elmer Kennedy-Andrews (2008) Writing Home. p. 13.
  • Ecological Economics studies the ecology of humans and the economy of nature, the web of interconnections uniting the economic subsystem to the global ecosystem of which it is a part.
    • Robert Costanza, Ecological economics: the science and management of sustainability. Columbia University Press, 1992.
  • Standard economists don't seem to understand exponential growth. Ecological economics recognizes that the economy, like any other subsystem on the planet, cannot grow forever. And if you think of an organism as an analogy, organisms grow for a period and then they stop growing. They can still continue to improve and develop, but without physically growing, because if organisms did that you’d end up with nine-billion-ton hamsters. There is a great video on this.
  • In the quantitative models that appear in leading economics journals and textbooks, nature is taken to be a fixed, indestructible factor of production. The problem with the assumption is that it is wrong: nature consists of degradable resources.
    • Partha Dasgupta "Nature's role in sustaining economic development." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365.1537 (2010): 5-11.

G - L edit

  • Ecological economics is the name that has been given to the effort to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries in order to address the interrelationship between ecological and economic systems in a broad and comprehensive way.
    • AnnMari Jansson, Investing in natural capital: the ecological economics approach to sustainability. Island Press, 1994.
  • K. William Kapp's book "The Social Costs of Private Enterprise" was one of the first economic treatise that called attention to the ecological and social external costs of the market economy. His book is considered one of the origins of and a foundation for ecological economics.

M - R edit

  • There always will be limits to growth.
  • A quantity growing exponentially toward a limit reaches that limit in a surprisingly short time.
  • When there are long delays in feedback loops, some sort of foresight is essential.
  • The bounded rationality of each actor in a system may not lead to decisions that further the welfare of the system as a whole.

S - Z edit

  • Ecologists and economists made unlikely partners -- indeed, these disciplines have often appeared at odds with, and determined to ignore, each other... The modeling of ecological communities or systems seemed purposely to leave out the human economy.6 At the same time, economists either took for granted or ignored the principles, powers, or forces that ecologists believed governed the world's natural communities. The market mechanism, or competitive equilibrium, that mainstream economists studied assigned no role to the natural ecosystem.7 Ecological economics sought to embed the study of economics within a larger understanding of how ecosystems work.
  • Ecological rationality uses reason – rational reconstruction – to examine the behavior of individuals based on their experience and folk knowledge, who are ‘naïve’ in their ability to apply constructivist tools to the decisions they make; to understand the emergent order in human cultures; to discover the possible intelligence embodied in the rules, norms and institutions of our cultural and biological heritage that are created from human interactions but not by deliberate human design. People follow rules without being able to articulate them, but they can be discovered.
    • Vernon L. Smith. "Constructivist and ecological rationality in economics," 2002. p. 509.
  • The development of a global economy has not been matched by the development of a global society. The basic unit for political and social life remains the nation-state. International law and international institutions, insofar as they exist, are not strong enough to prevent war or the large-scale abuse of human rights in individual countries. Ecological threats are not adequately dealt with. Global financial markets are largely beyond the control of national or international authorities.

External links edit

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