WEAll News

Exploring ecological economics: positive futures, and work

Tags: book, knowledge, research, work
Published on February 25, 2020

A pioneering new book “Sustainable Wellbeing Futures: A Research and Action Agenda for Ecological Economics” is soon to be published, outlining the various dimensions of a wellbeing economy and setting out a research and action plan for change.

Throughout February and March, WEAll is highlighting some of the book’s ideas by sharing short abstracts from each chapter. It is due to be published in May 2020 – find out more and order a copy here.


Creating Positive Futures for Humanity on Earth
By Robert Costanza, Elizabeth M. B. Doran, Tatiana Gladkikh, Ida Kubiszewski, Valerie Luzadis, and Eric Zencey

We cannot predict the future, but we can design and help create the future we want.  To do this we need to better understand how cultures evolve and change and how to overcome societal addictions and roadblocks to positive change.  Creating a shared vision is a critical step in this process. Goal setting, envisioning and scenario planning are important tools that have been used to guide and enable transitions in businesses, communities, and individuals. On the world stage, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an important step toward creating a shared vision of a positive future for all countries on Earth. This chapter discusses these theories, tools, and processes and how they have been used to create alternative futures to motivate and guide major transitions.  It then proposes a research and action agenda to enable better understanding of cultural evolution, how to direct it toward desired goals, and how to create a shared vision of the goal  – a world of sustainable wellbeing we all want.


Work, Labour, and Regenerative Production

By Kaitlin Kish and Stephen Quilley

In this chapter, we revisit Marxist critiques of deskilling and alienation and review recent work in relation to the ontology of the labour process and the possibility of more meaningful work in an Ecological Economics (EE) context. The movements and phenomena that we survey include: the re-emergence of the arts and crafts sensibility in the form of the ‘maker’ movement; the sharing economy; ‘regenerative’ economies; new forms of bartering, gifting and trading facilitated by information and communication technologies; a new significance attaching to residual and seemingly anachronistic guilds; and emerging traditions associated with new forms of work. On this basis of we review potentially fertile areas for future EE research, demarcating in the process a number of significant themes including: making as a hobby and leisure activity, a vocation, an occupation and a career; making as a dimension of transformative education; automation versus/or integrated with fabrication by hand; the issues of hand/brain re-integration and de-alienation; the connection between making and patterns of place and reconnection with local biosphere; the connections between this kind of radical political economy on the one hand and restoration ecology and indigenous studies on the other; and the tension between the prospective regenerative economy (repair and reuse) and the tendency towards increased ephemeralization. On this basis we explore possibilities for a simultaneous contraction, expansion and innovation in the roles of municipal and regional governments in facilitating the emergence of a vibrant and more embedded reMaker economy.


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