I just got another paper rejected from Ecological Economics. It must be time for another anti-ecological economics post ... Quote of the day #1:
“I had to take first-year micro- and macroeconomics for my degree in International Development,” explains University of Calgary student Alexis Crabtree. “Even though I took them with one of the most popular profs at the university, a guy who always won undergraduate teaching awards, I hated them. I found them so far removed from real life, and it seemed like the only thing economics was good for was to argue against my political views. For me, there were other considerations beyond shifting supply and demand curves, like social justice, but there was absolutely no discussion in class about those kinds of issues.”
Real life doesn't involve shifting demand and supply curves?
Quote of the day #2:
“Over the years, a number of students made their way over from the economics department to take my graduate course in ecological economics,” [Bill Rees] says. “Then they stopped coming. I didn’t think about it much but a couple of years back I bumped into a former student who told me, ‘You know, the economics department will not allow credit for your course. They don’t consider it real economics.’”
They don't consider it real economics because the course likely isn't. Much of ecological economics is a critique of a strawperson of economics that doesn't reflect reality. Economics is the study of self-interest, incentives and the resulting behavior in markets. Markets fail sometimes and government policy can improve efficiency. In the case of the environment, government policy can lead to sustainability. Without a thorough understanding of these concepts, any consideration of limits to growth is bound to be rooted in a misunderstanding. The problem might be that, while there are no ecological limits to economic growth [update: except in extreme circumstances], [update: considering substitution of human and physical capital for natural capital] there are limits to the type of economic growth (i.e., very clean) that some people would like to see and experience.