What is Green Economics?An age of global transformation - An age of Green Economics
Green Economics positions economics within a very long-term, earth-wide, holistic context of reality as a part of nature in the longer term and as a blueprint for 21st century economics practice in the shorter term. It moves economics from an emphasis and outcome of military, sex and cars, with Fordist and Taylorist high mass consumption of the 20th century into the economy of the 21th century which has a completely new aim and objective, for provisioning for the needs of all people everywhere, other species, nature, the planet and its systems as beneficiaries rather than throwaway inputs to the ceteris paribus economy of homo economicus and ruling man and his preferences. Economics is no longer about men in business suits- arguing over supply and demand curves and models. Economics is reclaimed as something that everyone and everything on the planet practices as all have impacts and all have needs, all have responsibilities and all have spheres of impact.
Economics goes back to its roots- as a discipline of household and estate management - oikia- rather than being predicated on greed, profit and price- with its joint roots in ecology.
Economics becomes altogether a more inclusive, much more gender balanced discipline both in terms of who its practitioners are and what its outputs and theories and explanations are. It also incorporates and celebrates 'difference', diversity, equity and inclusiveness within its concepts of society and community. Its philosophy is to manage economics for nature, the planet and people, rather than to manage the environment for business as usual.
Green Economics views the current downturn as partly arising from the clash between ecology and economy in the outdated structures that meant a competition for land for food and land for fuel and the result of the end of the bubble economy, and the Minsky idea of The Great Moderation being actually unhelpful in artificially stabilising the economic system and creating over optimism, and the over complacent all powerful feeling that man had finally conquered the vagiaries of nature and the economy and resource use and so could rule the world without fear. This meant a complete belief in his mastery and invincability and that economics downturns would never return again! In fact as Minksy showed- this was simply creating the very thing they feared- a major meltdown of the economy. But green economics shows that even during this unprecedented spell of a show of invincibility- one fifth of humanity was starving and the spoils were more unevenly disributed than ever before. All this at the same time- depleting and exhausting the planets resources- natural capital and rocking the roots of our civilisation - the climate interglacial on which had ever only been based. There is no blue print for a much warmer climate being able to host our civilisation! We are now into unchartered waters. The world is hotting up and we have wipped out many other species who might have been able to help us! Over consumption and over use of the worlds resources is now in urgent need of correction. This means a complete rethink of how we use the planet our home our house hold and also the relationship of dominion and mastery- a complete false dawn. We are part of the earth and we risk everything if we forget that, and dont do our household maintenance and housework. Economics is part of that- but only a subset.
Economics is going to have to be completely re written. We think that life style changes will be the only answer- doing Different Things- Differently! - Rather than messing about with redefining or measurement or trading or technical fixes any other kind of fudging - the world has changed- and we need to keep up with it- that means we have to change what we do and how we do it ! By combining economics with knowledge from the natural sciences, Economics can now incorporate a much wider, more practical, holistic, and pluralist multidisciplinary range of knowledge than other schools of economics under a heterodox umbrella. Green Economics can offer unique insights into four of the key areas ('eco', intellectual, political and moral) of today's significant and mounting problems and highlights how its novel insights provide new solutions.
The development of this new branch of Economics critiques the main contradictions, deficiencies, assumptions, conventions, and inherent normative concepts found in dominant neo-classical economic thinking, which have accumulated over the past two centuries and reassessing the world undergoing social and environmental change.
It develops these themes further in order to achieve simultaneous social and environmental justice, as inseparable parts of a whole. Green Economics looks for solutions that simultaneously address poverty,( one fifth of humanity), current dangerous runaway climate change and instability and ending the current mass extinction of species ( currently there is the 6th ever on earth mass extinction event going on ) within an equitable and future proofed framework.
Green Economics is extremely forward thinking, long term, hi tech, futuristic, technically competent, ( many of our board have degrees in economics and Phds or other degrees in earth science or physics). Many are also literate in social science, many specialising in new ways of examining -truth and reality in both the social and physical world, using new innovative more up to date methodology. Our project is nothing less than to re-conceptualise the philosophy of economics and its and our place in the world.
As such a particular aspect is to re consider the role of economic growth, the role of GDP, and the role, structure and outcomes in the real economy of production, Foreign Direct Investment, speculation, land use, construction, property, procurement, logistics and supply chains and accounting as well as IT, and computer uses and intellectual property issues. Practises we use include everything on open source, and using slow travel in our work as well as web cams, web seminars and open source publishing. We have one of the largest green websites with free up to the minute global news and information. We also believe in local production for local needs, efficiency for appropriate supply, eg milk and vegetables being produced locally, energy being produced locally where possible and SMART grids being implemented. We are also exploring higher tech solutions. However, climate change will lead to huge areas of the world being uninhabitable or unsuitable for growing food and we are committed to a sharing methodology for all of humanity - rather than a l"and, forest and food grab" of assets by the rich and powerful.
This means global solutions for global problems such as poverty and it means working much harder to prioritise the Millenium Development Goals especially the education and empowerment of women and girls. It has been suggested (McGlade) by the European Environment Agency that educating and empowering women - would alone reduce the population projection down from 9 billion to 7 billion humans. This alone would allieviate huge amounts of hardship. We advocate empowerment of women and girls and the single most important piece of work to be done in the next few years - which will have direct benefits for all of us on the planet. Men currently own 99% of the worlds assets and this patriarchy and accumulation needs to be urgently rebalanced into a more sharing and caring economics practise.Most of the worlds poor are women and many women are poor. Poverty is a highly gendered situation. Many of the main victims of aids HIV today are women and many of the main victims of disasters from the Tsunami and other natural disasters are women being poorer and often more directly dependent on the natural world. Women are still dying in huge numbers in pregnancy and child birth all over the world. There were more slaves, mainly women, in the 20th century than ever before- far from eradication of slavery - it is thriving and has a very gendered aspect and needs urgent re- abolition - this time for good!
Green Economics has also been termed -The economics of sharing -so it addresses now forms of distribution and also the economics of doing- as it is now a major player in many governments around the world, in the race to become green and to use Green Economics and the green economy as the one ray of hope in ending the current economics downturn and setting trends for 21st century economics and provisioning over the century for the needs of all people everywhere, other species, nature the planet and its systems and in fact provisioning for the comfortable survivability of the human and other species. Governments all over the world are falling over themselves to understand this programme and message- do ensure you don't loose out! It aims to innovate in methodology of economics, theory and practice making economics acessible for everyone. We are actively changing the culture of homo economicus and making economics broader and more socially and environmentally just.Our Sustainable Development Economics courses include robust, lively and enjoyable training in development and in women's economics, environmental change and social justice. We do this using participatory methodology.
We want to transform economics to enable it to provision for the needs of all people everywhere, nature, other species, the planet and its systems.We want economics to benefit these groups rather than being throw away inputs in the service of faceless policies.
The Green Economics Institute advises governments around the world and provides advise about dealing with the current crises in economics, climate and biodiversity as well as poverty and inequality. We help people future proof their economics with an eye on weathering the current economics downturn and laying the foundations of future sustainable prosperity for themselves and their family, their company or their country.
Recently the Green Economics Institute was in Turkey speaking at major conferences on Economics in Ankara and Istanbul via webcam saving carbon. We also ran the very first ever Green Economics Speakers Forum at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset in the UK-see pictures on flikr. The following week we were invited to speak at the Atlantic Cities Conference in Caen in France disucssing the implementation of the Green Economy.
Picture - Our team of economists in Brussels for Green Week June 2010
Aims and Philosophy of the Green Economics Institute
The Green Economics Institute has been formed to bring together thinkers, activists, practitioners, academics and policy makers, people in business wanting to work for a real change in outcomes, economists and campaigners, writers and opinion formers in order to educate and exchange information and ideas and to provide the tools for beneficial change to occur.
The Green Economics Institute is also a Research Institute and undertakes, encourages and supports International Research into Green Economics issues, perspectives, methods, tools and instruments, economic theoretical discourses and disciplines in order to facilitate change in the way people are affected by the economy and their relationship to it. It will seek out and encourage best practice and innovation in Fair Trade and sustainability and exchange ideas and examples and cases.
Aims of the Green Economics Institute
The aim is that as a result more people enjoy a better quality of life. There is a focus on corporate activities and the globalisation process and their impacts on a range of stakeholders including indigenous peoples, minorities, women, people in less developed countries and non human species and the biosphere and also the conventional wisdoms of trickle down theories, growth and development.