Ecological macroeconomics: implications for the roles of consumer-citizens

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The economic decline that began in 2008 opened a window of opportunity for consideration about how to combine macroecononomic and environmental concerns. This discussion is far from new, as evidenced, for instance, by the European Commission’s White Paper from 1993, which explained how a greening of the economy could go hand in hand with increased employment. These ideas were not reflected much in actual policies, and – despite some green elements – the subsequent economic upturn was driven first of all by consumption, and in several affluent countries, fueled by credit expansion. The current revival of this discussion includes contributions from actors involved with efforts to advance a ‘Green New Deal’ that repeats the idea that the promotion of green innovation and government funding of greener infrastructure would improve competitiveness and increase employment.
This time ‘Green Keynesianism’ is accompanied by a more theoretical debate and increased interaction between the heterodox schools of ecological economics and post-Keynesian economics. In addition, both the degrowth community and the research community organized around sustainable transitions of socio-technical systems have contributed to discussions on how to reconcile environmental and social concerns. Based on this broad variety of pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, a new ecological macroeconomics is emerging, but the contours are still vague. This chapter seeks to outline some of this topography and to add a few pieces of its own by highlighting the need to shift resources from consumption to investment and describing the role of consumer-citizens in such a change.
The chapter starts by identifying the problems and challenges for an ecological macroeconomics. The next section outlines some of the shortcomings of traditional macroeconomics and the requirements related to development of a new theoretical framework. Despite the complexities of such an initiative, many contributors agree on one important issue and this is dealt with in the third section: the need to shift from consumption to investment to transform the socio-technical systems related to energy, transport, housing, food and so forth. The fourth section outlines briefly the roles of consumer-citizens in relation to such sustainability transformations and the final section considers the possibilities for initiating the envisioned changes.
TitelInnovations in Sustainable Consumption : New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices
RedaktørerMaurie J. Cohen, Halina Szejnwald Brown, Philip J. Vergragt
ForlagEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Trykt)978 1 78100 125 7
ISBN (Elektronisk)978 1 78100 134 9
StatusUdgivet - 2013


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