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Building a Green Economy

Perspectives from Ecological Economics

Robert B. Richardson

Publication Year: 2013

The first decade of the twenty-first century has been characterized by a growing global awareness of the tremendous strains that human economic activity place on natural resources and the environment. As the world’s population increases, so does the demand for energy, food, and other resources, which adds to existing stresses on ecosystems, with potentially disastrous consequences. Humanity is at a crossroads in our pathway to future prosperity, and our next steps will impact our long-term sustainability immensely. In this timely volume, leading ecological economics scholars offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy. Grounded in a critique of conventional thinking about unrestrained economic expansion and the costs of environmental degradation, this book presents a roadmap for an economy that prioritizes human welfare over consumerism and growth. As the authors represented here demonstrate, the objective of ecological economics is to address contemporary problems and achieve long-term socioeconomic well-being without undermining the capacity of the ecosphere. The volume is organized around three sections: “Perspectives on a Green Economy,” “Historical and Theoretical Perspectives,” and “Applications and Practice.” A rich resource in its own right, Building a Green Economy contains the most innovative thinking in ecological economics at a critical time in the reexamination of the human relationship with the natural world.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. 6-7

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

...regions reported record-setting temperatures, droughts, and flooding. For nearly three months in 2010, the world watched helplessly while millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening aquatic ecosystems and the livelihoods of coastal communities. World population reached seven billion people in late 2011. World grain prices peaked in 2011 before moderating to levels equivalent only to those at the time of the 2008 food crisis. Damage...

Perspectives on a Green Economy

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Building a Green Economy: The Case for an Economic Paint Job / Robert B. Richardson

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pp. 3-18

...and desertification, all of which threaten the long-term viability of economies and livelihoods. Rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions imply an escalating threat of unrestrained climate change, along with potentially calamitous consequences for humans. The damages from climate change are likely to be economically significant and distributed unevenly...

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Taking Ecological Economics Seriously: It's the Biosphere, Stupid / David Korten

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pp. 19-30

...truths. Being interdisciplinary is part of what makes ecological economics interesting and potentially powerful. I come from a business school background with a focus on the design of complex cultural and institutional systems. I am primarily concerned with how the interplay of cultural values and institutional structures shapes individual...

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Beyond the Ivory Tower: Why Progress Needs More Ecological Economists to Actively Engage / Kristen A. Sheeran

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pp. 31-36

...economics seeking to improve the world often end up disappointed. They enter a shadowy realm of ever-escalating abstraction from which emerges, again and again, a conservative antireform agenda. Today’s challenges demand new economic thinking; conventional economics falls short of envisioning a way through current crises. Useful new economic theory, however, will only arise as economists engage with practical, real-world problems...

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Ruin and Recovery: The Economics of Michigan's Natural Resources / David Dempsey

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pp. 37-42

...one-fifth of available global surface water, Michigan has risen and fallen with the conservation and exploitation of that liquid resource, as well as timber, fish, wildlife, and land. The conservation and environmental movements helped dig the state out of previous economic collapses by fashioning policies with long-term economic benefits...

Historical and Theoretical Perspectives

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Noble Savages or Consummate Consumers: The Behavioral Ecology of Building a Green Conservation Future / Bobbi S. Low

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pp. 45-68

...species. Today we are more numerous and consume more per capita than ever before. One prominent “explanation” is that we are so isolated from ecological forces that we have no idea of our impacts. If we were to return to our “Noble Savage” state, consuming less, all would be well. This old romantic notion of “noble” indigenous peoples, consuming little...

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Green Keynesianism: Beyond Standard Growth Paradigms / Jonathan M. Harris

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pp. 69-82

...economic collapse. In the theoretical area, mainstream economists have started to give grudging attention to Keynesian perspectives previously dismissed in favor of New Classical theories. This theoretical and practical shift is taking place at the same time that environmental issues, in particular global climate change, are compelling attention...

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The Economics of Information in a Green Economy / Joshua Farley and Skyler Perkins

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pp. 83-100

...technologies that protect them. Patents on new technologies raise their prices for twenty years, slowing dissemination and preventing other scientists from freely improving the technology. Knowledge is expensive to produce, but its value is maximized at a price of zero and as a result is best produced through cooperation, not competition. Building a green economy requires public investment in open source knowledge, ideally funded by fees on throughput...

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The Evolution of Ego'n'Empathy: Progress in Forming the Centerpiece for Ecological Economic Theory / William M. Hayes and Gary D. Lynne

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pp. 101-118

...evolves stronger: “If empirical testing results in failure to reject the null hypothesis of ‘no empathic, other-interest at work’ and ‘no lack of substitution possibilities,’ we are back to the standard neoclassical economic model.” There is no evidence to go back, and substantive evidence to support going forward, together on new and shared grounds. A grand case in point is the recent 2008 financial crisis and near economic collapse: Only through bringing...

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Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Excess / Ed Lorenz

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pp. 119-134

...fundamental societal problem when its pathologies are magnified in corporations no longer properly controlled by either civic processes or cultural norms. As the early twentyfirst- century financial crises unfolded, a common error of analysis focused on relatively recent changes in law or policy that encouraged imprudent behavior, such as the repeal of bank regulations...

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Environmental Justice Challenges for Ecosystem Service Valuation / Matthew A. Weber

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pp. 135-148

...misrepresented, both efficiency and distributional analyses will be flawed. While many of the issues discussed here are not new, the tools of valuation are specialized, and their limitations may not be well known. Furthermore, some problems are particularly troublesome when cast in the light of the intentions of environmental justice...

Applications and Practice

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Assessing the Trade-Offs for an Urban Green Economy / Myrna Hall, Ning Sun, Stephen Balogh, Catherine Foley, and Ruqi Li

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pp. 151-170

...critical as world energy supplies dwindle and global unemployment is on the rise. We propose a methodology for the assessment of trade-offs based on net energy gains and apply it to a neighborhood in Syracuse, New York. We find, for example, that the net energy gain of food production and solar...

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Green Jobs: Who Benefits? : Demographic Forecasting of Job Creation in U. S. Green Jobs Studies / Kyle Gracey

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pp. 171-210

...the types of jobs most produced in these green jobs studies. However, if the green jobs studies are accurate, and even if the forecasts are biased by a dozen percentage points, overall women, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics and Latinos would still gain jobs in most studies considered, though blacks and Asians are relatively more susceptible to no...

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Great Lakes, Great Debates: Facilitating Public Engagement on Offshore Wind Energy Using the Delphi Inquiry Approach / Erik Nordman, Jon VanderMolen, Betty Gajewski, and Aaron Ferguson

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pp. 211-222

...Inquiry to understand the conditions, if any, under which offshore wind energy development in Lake Michigan could be acceptable to residents of West Michigan. This chapter summarizes the resulting thoughts and concerns expressed by the stakeholder participants in this Delphi Inquiry...

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Endogenous Environmental Discounting and Climate-Economy Modeling / Philip Sirianni

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pp. 223-244

...endogenous discounting approach is consistent with more stringent emissions reduction strategies. However, the discounting assumptions made here are not enough to justify the level of emissions reductions recommended by the SternReview (Stern, 2007), particularly in the nearer term...

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A Genuine Metric for Assessing Business Sustainability / Matthew P. H. Taylor, Darrell Brown, David E. Ervin, Jim Thayer, and Brett Cassidy

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pp. 245-268

...assess progress difficult if not impossible. A necessary next step in the field of enterprise-level sustainability is the development of a standard methodology for measuring and assessing a firm’s total effects on sustainability. Genuine Metrics adapts the five-capital framework of Genuine Savings, a macroeconomic sustainability metric used by the World Bank, to develop a comprehensive measure of an individual organization’s progress towards sustainability...

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The Case for "Improvement" in Corporate Sustainability Indicators / Richard Grogan

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pp. 269-294

...argue that simply reporting for reporting sake gets us no closer to a sustainability transition, and thus we ought to move toward evaluating whether companies are actually improving with respect to sustainability. This could be accomplished through the development of a “Gross Sustainability” (GS) measure using reporting data...

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Evolutions in Methods and Technology for Research in Pro-environmental Behavior / Douglas L. Bessette and Robert B. Richardson

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pp. 295-312

...robust, rapidly deployable, and near real-time instrument for examining individuals’ attitudes, values, well-being, and private-sphere pro-environmental behaviors. By combining questions about daily experiences with multimedia and direct behavioral monitoring, we concluded that the use of smart phones in experience sampling can be effective in the analysis of behavior and its determinants....

Contributors

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pp. 313-316


E-ISBN-13: 9781609173937
E-ISBN-10: 1609173937
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611861020
Print-ISBN-10: 1611861020

Page Count: 326
Illustrations: 19
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st Hardcover
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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Subject Headings

  • Ecology -- Economic aspects -- United States.
  • Environmental policy -- Economic aspects -- United States.
  • Environmental economics -- United States.
  • Sustainable development -- United States.
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