The Need for and Meaning of Social Ecological Economics

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper


Ecological economics has arisen over a period of three decades with a strong emphasis on the
essential need to recognise the embeddedness of the economy in the biophysical. However,
that element of realism is not matched by an equally well informed social theory. Indeed the
tendency has been to adopt mainstream economic concepts, theories and models formulated
of the basis of a formal mathematical deductivist approach that pays little or no attention to
social reality. Similarly mainstream economic methods are employed as pragmatic devices
for communication. As a result ecological economics has failed to develop its own consistent
and coherent theory and failed to make the link between the social and the economic. In
order to reverse this situation the social and political economy must be put to the fore and that
is the aim of social ecological economics. This paper provides a brief overview of the
arguments for such a development. The prospect is of unifying a range of critical thought on
the social and environmental crises with the aim of informing the necessary social ecological
transformation of the economy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameSRE - Discussion Papers

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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