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Economics, Ecology and Sustainable Development: Are they Compatible?

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The prevailing economic paradigm, in which a closed circular flow of production and consumption can be described in terms of 'natural laws' of the equilibrium of market forces, is being challenged by our growing knowledge of complex systems, particularly ecosystems. It is increasingly apparent that neo-classical economics does not reflect social, economic and environmental realities in a world of limited resources. The best way to understand the problems implicit in the concept of 'sustainable development' is provided by Ecological Economics Ð a new synthesis in which the traditional virtue of thrift is justified using modern ideas from systems theory and thermodynamics.

Keywords: ecological economics; entropy; natural resources; sustainable development; thrift

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1992

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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