This book is not intended to be a stand-alone economics textbook, nor is it a comprehensive treatment of the wide range of activities currently going on in the transdisciplinary field of ecological economics. Rather, it is an introduction to the field from a particular perspective. It is intended to be used in introductory undergraduate or graduate courses, either alone or in combination with other texts. It is also intended for the interested independent reader.
The book is structured in four sections. We begin with a description of some of the current problems of society and their underlying causes. We trace the causes to problems in the conventional way in which the world, and humans’ role in it, are viewed. Ecological economics is essentially a rethinking of this fundamental relationship and a working out of the implications of a new way of thinking for how we manage our lives and our planet. In Section 2 we present a historical narrative of how worldviews have evolved. This emphasizes how much worldviews do evolve and change. We outline what we think the next step in this evolution will be (or should be). We present various ideas and models in their proper historical context and as a living narrative, rather than as a list of sterile abstractions. The third section is a distillation of what we view as the fundamental principles of ecological economics that are the result of this evolutionary process. The fourth section is a set of policies that follow from the principles and a set of instruments that could be used to implement the policies. It lays out the process of shared envisioning as an essential element to achieving sustainability. A brief conclusions section summarizes and gives prospects for the future.
This book is part of a coordinated set of four publications and a video. The book in your hands is intended for advanced readers and undergraduate and graduate courses. There is also a technical volume aimed at ecological economics practitioners, a popular version aimed at a lay audience, and a short “executive summary” aimed at the policy community. Finally, there is a 43-minute video which is useful for quickly bringing mixed groups up to speed on the basic ideas. We thus address the spectrum of audiences that may be interested in these ideas by presenting them in the appropriate form for each audience. But we envision that many readers may want the entire set, since the different versions are designed to be mutually supportive.
- ^ Jansson, A.-M., M. Hammer, C. Folke, and R. Costanza (eds.). 1994. Investing in natural capital: The ecological economics approach to sustainability. Washington, DC : Island Press.
- ^ Prugh, T., R. Costanza, J. H. Cumberland, H. Daly, R. Goodland, and R. B. Norgaard. 1995. Natural capital and human economic survival. Solomons, MD: ISEE Press.
- ^ Griesinger Films, 1994. Video: An Introduction to Ecological Economics.
This is a chapter from An Introduction to Ecological Economics (e-book).
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