8 July 2008

What is Green Economics?

I recently consulted the wikipedia entry on Green Economics to discover that it has been eliminated. Somebody has translated it into a forwarder to 'ecological economics'. Whether this occurred through ignorance or political manipulation is not clear to me. What is clear is that we need to rebuild a decent entry on green economics. I'm going to start the process and would appreciate your support.

A rather glib phrase we often use as a short-hand for what green economics is about is 'Economics for People and the Planet' - what does this mean? For me a key difference between environmental, ecological and green branches of economics is that, while all three take the environment seriously (in contrast to neoclassical economics), green economics puts social justice at the heart of the discussion.

The typescript for my book which is also called Green Economics (imagination failure here I'm afraid!) is now with Earthscan and due for publication later this year. Producing it has made me think long and hard about what green economics might be, and I'm going to offer some tasters of the content of the book in this blog over the next couple of months.

So, to begin at the beginning, we need a definition. One that establishes why it is worth having green economics in the first place, and what distinguishes it from other branches of the subject. Here are some of the key pointers so far as I am concerned:

Green economics broadens the perspective of ‘economics’ beyond the concerns of the ‘rational economic man’. It seeks to include the perspectives of those who are marginalized within the present economic structure — primarily women and the poor of the world—as well as taking seriously the needs of the planet itself.

Green economics has not grown up as an academic discipline but from the grassroots. It is distinct from environmental economics, which uses conventional economics but brings the environment into the equation; and ecological economics, which is still a measurement-based and academically focused discipline. Green economics is rather about people and the planet.

Green economics seeks to move the target of our economy away from economic growth and towards flourishing, convivial human communities which do not threaten other species or the planet itself. In place of economic growth we should move towards a steady-state economy.

Green economics is the first significant alternative to capitalism that is not communism. It offers a different economic paradigm to challenge neoliberalism.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Molly,

    I was interested to read your most welcome blog. 20 years ago I had a book published on different economic concepts to point the way to a sustainable world economy. Someone who liked the book recently contacted me to suggest that I update and re-publish it as a blog. She set up the blog and is posting the book in sections as I write and send it to her. Here is the link:


    With all good wishes,
    Charles Pierce