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The Politics of Actually Existing UnsustainabilityHuman Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon Constrained World$
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John Barry

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695393.001.0001

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Green Political Economy I: Sufficiency and Security

Green Political Economy I: Sufficiency and Security

(p.149) 5 Green Political Economy I: Sufficiency and Security
The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability

John Barry

Oxford University Press

Offers a green alternative to neoclassical economics based on ecological considerations as well as eco-feminist, ecological economics, and heterodox economic insights. Picking up on the discussion of economic growth in the previous chapter this chapter critically interrogates it, following John McMurtry, as denoting ‘the cancer stage of capitalism’. This chapter outlines and defends an alternative to economic growth—namely ‘economic security’ in which quality of life and well-being (especially free time) become central objectives of macroeconomic policy and the way we think about a sustainable economy. Key to this notion of economic security (which is suggested as appropriate only for ‘over-developed’ economies in the minority world) is the need to reduce socio-economic inequality. Other features of this green political economic alternative to the neoclassical orthodoxy include the centrality of principles such as sufficiency and moderation over efficiency and maximization, here linking back to the permaculture-inspired idea of resilience being a function of ‘slack’ and in-built redundancy, i.e. deliberative deviations from the norm of efficiency.

Keywords:   green political economy, sufficiency, economic security, socio-economic equality, sustainable economy, human flourishing, human well-being

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