November 7, 2010 at 2:05 am | Posted in Development, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Globalization, Research | Leave a comment










Energy and the Ecological Economics of Sustainability

John Peet (Author)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This book examines the roots of the present environmental crisis in the neoclassical economics upon which modern industrial society is based. The author explains that only when we view ourselves in the larger context of the global ecosystem and accept the physical limits to what is possible can sustainability be achieved.

Product Details:

· Paperback: 327 pages

· Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition

· May 1, 1992

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 1559631600

· ISBN-13: 978-1559631600

This book is a cogent criticism of existing scientific perspectives, especially regarding classical economic theory.

It is reasonable to assume that the environmental problems that have been created by our current economic practices are a reflection or the outcome of our current reductionist, deterministic (e.g. Newtonian) scientific paradigm. It is obvious that demonstrated success in mechanical physics is not a priori evidence that the tools are available to solve more complicated problems in natural and economic systems. (As an example, we can put a man on the moon, but why can’t we feed the world?) Peet offers a new perspective — the systems perspective — as appropriate for the construction of new models of the natural and economic world.

It is not surprising that economic theories dating back to Adam Smith and inspired by analogies with Newtonian mechanics (what might facetiously be called “Newtonian economics”) should be found inadequate in the context of the systems perspective. Simply put, human behavior does not submit to the calculus of mechanical reasoning. If one accepts Peet’s arguments (which are difficult to undermine), then it becomes clear that our most urgent research need is in establishing and articulating a new paradigm of scientific reasoning that offers hope for addressing the environmental problems of the present (and presumably the next two hundred years, give or take). Peet suggests that an “ecological view” is the proper basis for a new science called Ecological Economics.

There is a wide and growing body of literature associated with Ecological Economics. Peet is only one spokesperson of the new paradigm, but he benefits from a background in chemical engineering that distinguishes his voice from those of the economists, ecologists and biologists that are also eminent in this new field. As such, the principle scientific underpinnings of his message are the laws of thermodynamics.

Energy and the Ecological Economics of Sustainability

For students wishing to get a grip of the ecological economics conception of the ecological-economic process, this book is highly recommendable. Peet delivers an excellent discussion of some of the most revealing ecological economic criticisms of the conventional economics viewpoint.

To get deeper into the subject one would strongly reccommend Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1971) classic “The entropy law and the economic problem,” or one of Herman Daly’s books. Roegen’s work has (as will be immediately appearent in Peets book) served as a major inspiration and pathbreaker in the development of the bases of ecological economics.

Energy and the Ecological Economics of Sustainability


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