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  • 1.
    Söderbaum, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.
    Do we need a new economics for sustainable development?2017In: Real-world Economics Review, E-ISSN 1755-9472, E-ISSN 1755-9472, no 80, p. 32-44Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Environmental policy is often regarded as a technical issue where policy instruments at the national level are considered. Behind this perspective is mainstream neoclassical economics. But many unsustainable trends continue and it can be argued that neoclassical theory has failed. We need to test other ideas of economics and other perspectives more generally.

    In this essay economics is defined in multidimensional and political terms where compatibility with democracy is a central concern. A conceptual framework that can be described as an actor approach in terms of political economic person and political economic organisation assumptions is proposed. It is assumed that each political economic person is guided by her ideological orientation. Getting closer to sustainable development is not only a technical matter but also one of articulating ideologies and ideological orientations that differ from the present mainstrem. Mainstream economics tends to justify the present political-economic system and make it legitimate in a situation where we need to also consider institutional change. For example: are profit-maximizing firms compatible with sustainable development and what kind of international trade theory will help us understand how trade can be related to the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) recently sanctioned by the United Nations? How does the neoclassical idea about trade "protectionism" as always being bad relate to present aspirations to "protect the planet"?

  • 2.
    Söderbaum, Peter
    Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.
    Toward sustainable development: from neoclassical monopoly to democracy-oriented economics2019In: Real-world Economics Review, E-ISSN 1755-9472, no 87, p. 181-195Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Will mainstream neoclassical economics be helpful and enough in dealing with present unsustainable development? Or, should we try alternative schools of thought in the sense of conceptual framework and language? In this essay the latter option is chosen. It is argued that new views of individuals, organizations, markets etc. are needed. A new definition of economics is even suggested where the multidimensional nature of sustainability issues together with a democracy-oriented view of the discipline is emphasized. Assessment of investment alternaives in a democratic society is outlined as well as elements of a politics for sustainable development. Considering the seriousness of the problems faced, there is no good excuse for avoiding the more fundamental issues of paradigm and ideology with its influence on the functioning of our political economic system.

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