Future Generations

Authored by: Richard B. Howarth

Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138931510
eBook ISBN: 9781315679747
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395102


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A concern for future generations is fundamental to the theory and practice of ecological economics, which Costanza (1991) defined as the “science and management of sustainability”. As a field, ecological economics was formulated as an integrative, interdisciplinary response to the perceived limitations of natural resource and environmental economics—a branch of applied economics that strongly emphasises the criterion of Pareto efficiency as a guide to the “optimal” design of public policies. Following the publication of the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987), issues of intragenerational and intergenerational fairness were given an essential role in the definition and achievement of sustainable development. Moreover, operationalising sustainability was seen to require an approach that linked economics (and its emphasis on efficiency) with the insights provided by ecosystem science, ethics, and a range of social science disciplines concerned with the analysis of institutions and governance.

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