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The fight for revolutionary change in economic thought
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This book explores radical dissent from orthodox mainstream economics, and sets out a theoretically grounded vision for the emerging paradigm of social ecological economics. In short, orthodox dissent has entailed arguments for maintaining hi-tech growth economies and redistributing the surplus regardless of core counterarguments from Marxists, feminists, institutionalists, Post Keynesians and ecological economists. Building on the radical and philosophical foundations, the book articulates a preanalytic vision of social ecological economics, dismantling entrenched notions of growth and efficiency in favour of a framework centered on social provisioning and needs embedded in ethics. In a thought-provoking conclusion, the book applies its analytical lens to the multiple crises of modernity within industrialised capital-accumulating economies. An agenda for social ecological transformation toward diverse alternative economies emerges, providing a compelling call to action in the face of contemporary challenges. Schumpeter's proposal is put into a broader perspective by comparison with the theories of Neurath and Kuhn and issues in the sociology of science that they all raise. The book then turns to clarifying the meaning and role of ideology and the differences that have occurred over time and between different authors - Marx, Engels, Schumpeter and Gramsci. The concept of ideology in Schumpeter persists with the negative Marxist treatment and regarding it as something to be removed, but developments in political science have changed this understanding.

Clive L. Spash

Ecological economics has been labelled both a subfield of mainstream neoclassical economics, in a modern positivist tradition, and a post-normal science, in a postmodern constructionist tradition. This chapter starts by explaining the arguments for and meaning of pluralism. It reveals the contradictions of its ecological economic advocates and particularly criticise their failure to reject orthodox mainstream economics and instead present apologetic arguments for continued use of its methodology and methods. The chapter next turns to the foundational positions that can create a positive alternative social ecological economics. Employing critical realism as an aid, it works through a series of philosophical presuppositions - reality independent of humans, truth in science, limits to empirical knowledge, how we can have knowledge in a changing world and the similarities across social and natural sciences. The chapter brings together various reflections on how knowledge can be created.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Orthodox versus heterodox economics
Clive L. Spash

Adopting an orthodox mainstream paradigmatic perspective, in part or whole, has serious implications for the conduct and relevance of economic science. This chapter aims to clarify the divisions in economics between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and to show how this has impacted understanding of the environmental crisis. The concept of orthodox - as opposed to radical - dissent is introduced, and the meaning of paradigmatic conformity is outlined. The chapter argues that the fight for a paradigm shift in economics is undercut by such conformity and pragmatism. What constitutes heterodox thought on the environment is critically reviewed in terms four economic schools: Marxist/socialist, institutionalist, feminist and Post Keynesian. The chapter reveals the paradigmatic and ideological struggle in which heterodoxy in general is engaged and how this plays out with respect to ecological economics in particular.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

In this chapter, ecological economics is identified as arising from late-twentieth-century environmentalism and the failure of environmental economics to create an academic community prepared to challenge mainstream economic thinking, and more specifically economic growth and price-making markets. Ecological economics engages with a range of topics which recur across time and space and have been debated in Western philosophy since the ancient Greeks. Environmental economics arose, along with the growth in public awareness, as a direct response to pollution problems. Neoclassical theorists gave resource and environmental economics a technocentric optimism and ideological faith in self-regulating, price-making markets that circumvented recognising any need for fundamental change in human behaviour or major government intervention to directly regulate corporations or control market players. Economists voicing strong environmental critiques proved too revolutionary for the orthodox mainstream of the profession.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

In order to provide firm foundations for social ecological economics a basic understanding of issues relevant to developing scientific knowledge is required. This chapter provides an overview of the history and philosophy of modern science as it developed in Europe and then spread. Following the historical overview, it proceeds to a more detailed explanation of logical empiricism, as developed by the Vienna Circle, not least because empirical claims have been core to environmentalism, but also because of the general tendency to refer to 'positivism' as if this were some unified singular school of thought. Officially, economists follow a rigorous and scientific epistemological approach connected to logical empiricism. This sets a procedure for gaining knowledge on the basis of logical deductive theory development, leading to hypotheses which are meant to be empirically tested by observation, resulting in validation (whether verification, falsification or confirmation) - the hypothetico-deductive methodology.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

Social ecological economists have been present since the creation of the ISEE and have provided the main approach in the ESEE. This chapter frames the discussion about creating an alternative economics that gives insight into operationally effective alternative forms of economies. It looks at the rise of modern industrial economies. They are contrasted with a generalised category of 'traditional economies' based on differences in structure, although a richer analysis might employ a dialectical conceptualisation. The chapter outlines the roles of State and corporate actors in promoting technology, how work has become central to modern lives but without meaning, the related failures of development and its colonialism, and the disconnect between Nature and society. This is followed by outlining the related key problem areas facing social ecological economic research in the search for viable alternative systems of social provisioning and means of transformation away from current destructive and exploitative economic structures.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

If growth in scale is success, then ecological economics appears to have been successful. Three main positions on research are described as constituting ecological economics: new environmental pragmatism, new resource economics and social ecological economics. Four crossover positions, between the three main ones, capture a fuller picture of argumentation about direction and meaning and are explored. The chapter then considers the implications of these seven categories for unity and division within ecological economics. Social ecological economics takes a research position that is distinct from the existing economic orthodoxy, but is also critical of the pragmatic willingness to adopt whatever is assumed to achieve a given end. Several authors have advocated the idea of a potential union between ecological economics and neoclassical resource and environmental economics.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
The preanalytic vision
Clive L. Spash

Trying to define a preanalytic vision as an explicit cognitive act is not an easy task and especially if the hope, as here, is to make this more comprehensive and extend from philosophy of science to ideology and axiology. Social ecological economics can be understood as in opposition to two paradigmatic positions, one constituted by economic growth and the other price-making markets. This chapter outlines the foundations in the natural sciences. It then turns to the overarching aims of economic science and the need to redefine them away from the orthodox goals of growth and efficiency, and towards social provisioning. This is followed by outlining four areas where social ecological economics develops interdisciplinary and heterodox thought: human behaviour; ethics and value; non-human Nature; and institutions. The chapter ends with a summary of positions that constitute social ecological economics in terms of ontology, epistemology, methodology, axiology and ideology.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

Instead of ecological economics offering an integrative approach, it was founded on vague and unstructured appeals to transdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, holism, pluralism and eclecticism. In this chapter, the approaches to integration critically reviewed by Kapp are discussed and brought into a current social ecological economic perspective with specific focus on dialectics (from Hegel to Engels and Marx to Georgescu-Roegen), analogy and metaphor (which are distinguished), unity of science and finally multi-/trans-/inter-disciplinarity. The argument is made that interdisciplinarity is key but requires insight into a process as to how it might proceed. The role of conceptualisation is highlighted and Kapp's proposal for 'common-denominator' concepts is explained and explored. The potential for and barriers to integration are reflected upon throughout and summarised in the conclusions.

in Foundations of social ecological economics
Clive L. Spash

The idea of a preanalytic vision as explaining scientific change was originally proposed by Joseph Schumpeter in his posthumously published History of Economic Analysis. Schumpeter's proposal is put into a broader perspective by comparison with the theories of Neurath and Kuhn and issues in the sociology of science that they all raise. The chapter then turns to clarifying the meaning and role of ideology and the differences that have occurred over time and between different authors - Marx, Engels, Schumpeter and Gramsci. It turns to the critical realist approach termed 'explanatory critique', and the implications this has for social ecological economics and the role of researchers in the transformation of society. The chapter shows how calls for change in economic thought have appealed to concepts of a preanalytic vision and paradigm shift as invoking a revolutionary change and substantive transformation.

in Foundations of social ecological economics