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Paper assets, real debts: An ecological‐economic exploration of the global economic crisis

Giorgos Kallis (ICREA and Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Joan Martinez‐Alier (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica and Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Richard B. Norgaard (Energy and Resources Group, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA)

critical perspectives on international business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 10 April 2009

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to investigate the potential contribution of the inter‐disciplinary field of ecological economics to the explanation of the current economic crisis. The root of the crisis is the growing disjuncture between the real economy of production and the paper economy of finance.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors trace the epistemological origins of this disjuncture to the myths of economism – a mix of academic, popular and political beliefs that served to explain, rationalise and perpetuate the current economic system.

Findings

The authors recommend ending with economism and developing new collective and discursive processes for understanding and engaging with ecological‐economic systems.

Originality/value

The authors embrace the notion of sustainable de‐growth: an equitable and democratic transition to a smaller economy with less production and consumption.

Keywords

Citation

Kallis, G., Martinez‐Alier, J. and Norgaard, R.B. (2009), "Paper assets, real debts: An ecological‐economic exploration of the global economic crisis", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 5 No. 1/2, pp. 14-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/17422040910938659

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited