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Environmental Values

The Development of Environmental Thinking in Economics

Clive L. Spash

Environmental Values 8(1999): 413-435. doi: 10.3197/096327199129341897

There has always been a sub-group of established economists trying to convey an environmental critique of the mainstream. This paper traces their thinking into the late 20th century via the development of associations and journals in the USA and Europe. There is clearly a divergence between the conformity to neo-classical economics favoured by resource and environmental economists and the acceptance of more radical critiques apparent in ecological economics. Thus, the progressive elements of ecological economics are increasingly incompatible with those practising neo-classical environmental economics who try to reduce all concepts to fit within the confines of their models. A group of people can be identified who teach that ecological economics is nothing more than a name for the link between mainstream economics and ecology. A new movement and paradigm are unnecessary for such ends. This viewpoint is argued to be inconsistent with the roots and ideas of the ecological economics movement. Ecological economics is seen here to be synthesising various types of economics (e.g., socialist, institutional, environmental) and moving back to explicit inclusion of ethical issues in the mode of classical political economy. This inevitably means rediscovering neglected past works and exploring new ways of thinking about socio-economics and the environment.

KEYWORDS: environment, ethics, ecological economics, history of thought, political economy

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Environmental Valuation: Some Problems of Wrong Questions and Misleading Answers. Jack L. Knetsch

Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics and the Concept of Sustainable Development. Giuseppe Munda

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

What Does 'Natural Capital' Do? The Role of Metaphor in Economic Understanding of the Environment.Maria Akerman

Operationalising Strong Sustainability: Definitions, Methodologies and Outcomes. Begüm Özkaynak, Pat Devine and Dan Rigby

Value Theory in Ecological Economics: The Contribution of a Political Economy of Wealth. Ali Douai

Sustainability and Sustainable Development: Philosophical Distinctions and Practical Implications.Donald Charles Hector

Reframing Problems of Incommensurability in Environmental Conflicts Through Pragmatic Sociology: From Value Pluralism to the Plurality of Modes of Engagement with the Environment. Laura Centemeri

Acceptance of a Payment for Ecosystem Services Scheme: The Decisive Influence of Collective Action. Jean-Pierre Del Corso, Thi Dieu Phuong Geneviève Nguyen, Charilaos Kephaliacos

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