to stop growth


Ecological economists in contrast believe that humans are complex creatures with a variety of needs and wants. Society has multiple economic goals about which reasonable people can disagree. All economic production requires energy and raw materials, and generates waste. The raw materials we use also serve as the structural building blocks of ecosystems, and their conversion to economic production and hence waste inevitably degrades the life-sustaining services provided by healthy ecosystems. These services are largely non-substitutable. The ecological economic system is highly complex, characterized by both positive and negative feedback loops, emergent phenomena and surprises. For example, under some conditions, an increase in prices will lead to a decrease in demand, but under other conditions, such as we recently witnessed with speculative investments in land, food, and oil, rising prices increase speculative demand, leading to further price increases. Positive feedback loops in a finite system are self-limiting, and must ultimately collapse in another positive feedback loop where falling prices reduce demand. Facts are scarce and uncertain, and both the economic system and the global ecosystem that sustains and contains it are rapidly evolving.

more from Joshua Farley and Almantas Samalavicius at Eurozine here.