Over the past three decades ecological economics has emerged as a coherent transdisciplinary approach to environmental problem solving. However, its evolution has been quite dissimilar in different parts of the world. In the US and UK, ecological economics evolved as a critique of and alternative to a comparatively strict application of economic theory to environmental decision making. In particular, the narrow application of benefit–cost analysis often reduced environmental decisions to one metric within a single value system (the market economy). The attractiveness of these traditional economic approaches to environmental policy has always been their “one size fits all” approach. No matter what the problem faced, the same methods were applied with a primary goal of cost effectiveness. But it has become increasingly clear that the ease of application of a strict economic approach is outweighed by its failure to capture the social and environmental contexts and realities of specific environmental problems. In contrast, ecological economics has been more problem-oriented, incorporating multiple stakeholder and disciplinary perspectives in specific contexts to shape the methods that define policy choices. Furthermore, ecological economic approaches involve multiple metrics, multiple points of view, and evolutionary and flexible policy recommendations.
Erickson, J., Messner, F. and Ring, I. (2007), "Ecological Economics at the Watershed Scale: Comparing and Contrasting the United States and German Experiences and Approaches", Erickson, J., Messner, F. and Ring, I. (Ed.) Ecological Economics of Sustainable Watershed Management (Advances in the Economics of Environmental Resources, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1569-3740(07)07001-0Download as .RIS
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