Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to be an Ecological Economist

It is not entirely clear to me why someone would want to be an ecological economist but if there are some would be ecological economists out there this article is for you.

The question should be "why become an ecological economist and not an environmental economist and what the heck is the difference anyway?".

I believe the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred but there is still a discernible difference as I am this this paper by Malte Faber points out.

I suppose it comes down to whether one believes this statement or not:

"Mainstream Economics altogether lacks the concepts required to deal adequately with nature, justice and time."


How to be an Ecological Economist
Date: 2007-10
By: Malte Faber (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)


To answer the question "How to be an Ecological Economist", we must start by defining the field of Ecological Economics. Mainstream Economics altogether lacks the concepts required to deal adequately with nature, justice and time. It was the absence of these three concepts in this otherwise great social science that led to the establishment of Ecological Economics. The interest in nature, justice and time is its defining characteristic. The main thesis of this paper is that our field is a fragile institution and that the professional existence of an ecological economist is no less fragile. However, this very fragility also represents freedom, scope for free thinking, conceptualising and research. Nevertheless, to be able to really use and in turn enjoy the full scope of this freedom, an ecological economist needs certain specific characteristics, in particular what is termed in the German philosophical tradition "Urteilskraft" and in English "power of judgement". A description of these characteristics is developed in this paper, providing an answer to the question "How to be an ecological economist?"

Keywords: ecological economics; mainstream economics; political economy; nature; justice; time; growth; power of judgement

JEL: A10 A12 A13 B10 Q00 Q57 O40


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