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Understanding Sustainability in Economics.
Towards Pluralism in Economics.
Abstract: This highly readable yet challenging book provides a critical examination of the failings of mainstream economics and the resultant environmental problems we are facing. Most importantly, it articulates what an alternative economics for sustainability would look like in both theory and practice. The book provides a brief history of economics and looks at the intersection between politics and the often hidden values embedded in economics. Also covered are the roles of individuals and organizations, political structures and institutions, democracy, environmental decision-making, sustainability assessment and a vision of a future underpinned by sustainability economics. A main point raised is that, in any serious attempt to come to grips with unsustainable trends, fundamental issues such as the theory of science, the role of science in society, paradigms in economics, ideological orientations and institutional arrangements need to be critically examined. The theory is supported by case studies, explanatory figures, further reading sections and discussion questions to facilitate debate and learning.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :


Acronyms and abbreviations

1 Economics for Sustainability
Sustainability as a contested concept
The vision of sustainable development: A short history
A short history of economic ideas
Tenets of neoclassical economics
Neoclassical economics as narrative
Recent demand for alternatives to neoclassical economics
A comparative and pluralistic approach

2 Unsustainable and Sustainable Trends
Competing interpretations of sustainable development
Toward a 'reasonable' interpretation of SD
Principles for multidimensional measurement: Thinking in non-monetary and positional terms
Efforts to counteract unsustainable trends: Millennium Development Goals
Efforts to counteract unsustainable trends: Environmental policy in the European Union
Efforts to counteract unsustainable trends: Environmental policy in Sweden and the municipality of Uppsala
A house construction project as example
A lot remains to be done

3 Sustainability Politics: Are there Protected Zones in the Development Dialogue?
Protected zones in the development dialogue - overview
Criticism of science is largely avoided
Criticism of the monopoly of neoclassical economics is largely avoided

vi Understanding Sustainability Economics
Criticism of the dominant economic growth ideology and neo-liberalism is largely avoided
Criticism of institutional arrangements is downplayed
A non-reductionist idea of responsibility and accountability

4 From Economic Man to Political Economic Person
- Political economic person
From neoclassical theory of the firm to political economic organization
Democracy for problem-solving, security and sustainability

5 Interpretations of Non-Market and Market Relationships in Relation to Sustainability
Ideological implications of the supply and demand model
An alternative interpretation of market relationships
A frame of reference for sustainability politics

6 Actors, Agendas and Arenas for Social and Institutional Change
The neoclassical approach to social and institutional change processes
Understanding social and institutional change processes
Models and strategies for sustainable development
Inertia and flexibility
Examples of institutional change processes
A power game between groups with different ideological orientations

7 Approaches to Decision-Making and Sustainability Assessment
The neoclassical narrative: Cost-benefit analysis
What are the alternatives to cost-benefit analysis?
Positional thinking in non-monetary terms
A classification of approaches
Positional analysis as a sustainability assessment model
Applied studies with positional analysis
Follow-up studies of projects, programmes and policies

8 Towards Sustainability Economics
There are alternatives to neoclassical economics
Neo-liberalism as understood by civil society intellectuals
The combined impact of neoclassical economics and neo-liberalism
Unsustainable trends and path-dependence

Reconsidering institutions

Reconsidering actor roles

Action from below: Oscar Oliviera and Feng Xingzhongs

Action from above: John Perkins and Joseph Stiglitz