Cornucopia or zero-sum game? The epistemology of sustainability

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Abstract

This article contrasts two fundamentally world-economy. The article begins by sketching different understandings of economic growth the history of these two perspectives in recent and “development” that lead to diametrically decades and reflecting on the ideological and opposed approaches to how to deal with epistemological contexts of their appearance global ecological deterioration. One is the and different degrees of success. It then turns to currently hegemonic perspective of neoclassi-the main task of critically scrutinizing some of cal economic theory, which has been used to the foundations of the neoclassical approach to advocate growth as a remedy for environmental environmental issues, arguing that its optimisproblems.
The other is the zero-sum perspec-tic view of growth is based on faulty logic and tive of world-system theory, which instead a poor understanding of the global, physical suggests that growth involves a displacement of realities within which money and the capitalist ecological problems to peripheral sectors of the world-system operate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
JournalJournal of World-Systems Research
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social and Economic Geography

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