Contemporary Discourses of Green Political Economy (Hayley Stevenson)

Hayley Stevenson, University of Sheffield / 2015

Why Green EconomyThis research discusses the diverse perspectives on how we should pursue economic development under conditions of continuing environmental degradation. 


It argues instead of focusing on broad concepts such as ‘sustainable development’ it is time to decide which one of the following perspectives to move forward with: Radical Transformationism, Cooperative Reformism or Statist Progressivism.

“As the gap between the promise and reality of sustainable development widens, new concepts have proliferated. There are those who talk of green economy and green growth, and others who promote variously: well-being, gross national happiness, inclusive wealth, harmony with nature, de-growth, steady-state economy and buen vivir (living well).”

“There is evidently, then, no single way of imagining a sustainable economy. The role of the state, the viability of capitalism and growth, the desirability of pricing nature: all are contested. Adopting broad concepts like ‘sustainable development’ allows us to paper over these tensions and disagreements. But that is really all that it does. Given that many indicators of environmental quality have continued to decline over nearly three decades of policy-making in pursuit of ‘sustainable development’, a more fruitful task for governments and international institutions would surely be to reflect openly on the key existential issue, which is to decide around which of these visions the planet can genuinely sustain itself in the decades ahead.”

Read blog summarising the research

Read journal article


This summary was prepared by Why Green Economy?. The views expressed have been paraphrased. See the original source for more information.

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