چشم انداز و سناریوهای: فلسفه دنیوی هیلبرونر، اقتصاد سیاسی لاو، و روش شناسی اقتصادمحیط زیست
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 51, Issues 1–2, 1 November 2004, Pages 17–30
Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary alternative to mainstream environmental economics. Attempts have been made to outline a methodology for ecological economics and it is probably fair to say that, at this point, ecological economics takes a “pluralistic” approach. There are, however, some common methodological themes that run through the ecological economics literature. This paper argues that the works of Adolph Lowe and Robert Heilbroner can inform the development of some of those themes. Both authors were aware of the environmental challenges facing humanity from quite early on in their work and quite ahead of its time. In addition, both Lowe's Economics and Sociology (and related writings) and Heilbroner's “Worldly Philosophy” (itself influenced by this work of Lowe) recognized the endogeneity of the natural environment, the impact of human activity on the environment, and the implications of this for questions of method. Lowe and Heilbroner also became increasingly concerned with issues related to the environment over time, such that these issues became of prime importance in their frameworks. This work deals directly with ecological and environmental issues; both authors also dealt with other issues that relate to the environmental challenge, such as technological change. But it is not only their work that explicitly addresses the environment or relates to environmental challenges that is relevant to the concerns of ecological economists. Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy and Lowe's Political Economics offer insights that may prove useful in developing a methodology of ecological economics. Ecological economists have taken a pluralistic approach to methodology, but the common themes in this work regarding the importance and nature of vision; analysis (including structural analysis); scenarios; implementation; the necessity of working backwards; the role for imagination; rejecting the positive/normative dichotomy; and so on, all are issues that have been elaborated in Lowe's work, and in ways that are relevant to ecological economics. The goal of the paper is actually quite modest: to make ecological economists aware of the work of the two authors, and get them interested enough to explore the possible contribution of these ideas to their methodological approach.
Adolph Lowe and Robert Heilbroner both were aware of environmental-economic challenges from remarkably early on, and these issues gained an increasingly important place in their thought over the years. In his 1935 Economics and Sociology, Lowe wrote that: In every epoch of human civilization, economic forces and institutions have deeply influenced the structure and evolution of society as a whole. But in modern history the economic process is, as we have seen, the dominant factor… The technique of the industrial age has broken through the traditional borders between the social and the natural world and has subjected more and more sections of organic and inorganic nature to human influence. This expansion, however, has reacted on the psychological and institutional constituents of modern society in a strange way. The more nature has become socialized, the more society has become naturalized. (Lowe, 1935, p. 153) This idea that the economic system and economic process transforms not only the social, technical, and institutional, but also the natural environment, and that the latter therefore cannot be taken as “given” in economic analysis, remained an important theme in Lowe's work for the remainder of his life and influenced Heilbroner's own thinking. This position—already articulated in Lowe's early work—was crucial for both authors' thinking about the relation of the economy and the natural environment, and the impact of economic processes on the natural environment. Heilbroner also expressed awareness of environmental challenges from an early date. In 1950, 3 years before the publication of his first book and 13 years before he received his PhD, he wrote an article for Harper's Magazine called “What Goes Up the Chimney,” inspired by the famous Donora incident (Heilbroner, 1950). In the article, Heilbroner outlines the problems of pollution, its causes, and recommends some possible policies. Among his suggestions, he writes that “we must force large industry to add to its smoke-control equipment,” “we need better smoke prevention,” and “we need smoke control enforcement.” This, 20 years before the first Earth Day. While Lowe and Heilbroner both expressed awareness of environmental-economic challenges from very early on, in the late 1960s it moved to an even more prominent place in their thinking, with concern increasing over the next decades. In a widely reprinted 1970 article, “Ecological Armageddon,” Heilbroner writes that “[t]he ecological issue…may indeed constitute the most dangerous and difficult challenge that humanity has ever faced” (Heilbroner, 1970, p. 270) and calls “the ecological crisis, unquestionably the gravest long-run threat of our times” (p. 285). He speaks of “[t]he necessity to bring our economic activities into a sustainable relationship with the resource capabilities and waste-absorption properties of the world,” and insists that “[t]he cult of disposability must be replaced by that of reusability,” writing that “[m]any of these problems will tax our ingenuity, technical and socio-political, but the main problem they pose is not whether, but how soon, they can be solved” (1970, pp. 281–282). Throughout this period, Heilbroner devoted considerable thought to the environmental challenge, including his frank testimony before the U.S. Congress on the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1974 (Heilbroner, 1974b; see also, e.g., Heilbroner, 1972 and Heilbroner, 1973). Lowe's increasing concern in the same period was inspired by his reading Geoffrey Vickers' book, Freedom in a Rocking Boat. In a 1968 letter to Vickers, Lowe writes: [T]he significance of the book for my own work lies in…your emphasis on ecology in the widest sense, and on the limits this sets to ‘progress’. As several times before, your work is a most important corrective for my own thinking, and after having digested your warnings I shall have to modify a good deal of what I have been provisionally committing to paper. (Vickers, 1991, p. 51) From the late 1960s and early 1970s and onward, there is an explicit attempt by Lowe to incorporate environmental factors into his analysis. Thus, Part III of his 1976 book, The Path of Economic Growth is devoted to the analysis of natural resource inputs and the recycling of the residuals of both consumption and production (Lowe, 1976). In his “Postscript” to the updated edition of his On Economic Knowledge, published 1 year later (1977), Lowe would write: Recognition of the ecological triad—population explosion, gradual exhaustion of essential material resources, and progressive deterioration of the environment—has radically changed this picture [of economic growth]… [T]here is at this point no conceivable solution that would not imply a gradual reduction of the growth rate of the mature economies…[S]imultaneous industrial progress in all regions of the globe may well be incompatible with the available and even the potential supply of natural resources. Even more important, the ecosphere may not be able to absorb the heat that the energy required for universal industrialization will emit. The answer can only be a gradual redistribution of the world's resources in favor of non-Western regions…resulting in a deceleration of Western economic expansion. (1977, pp. 340–341) In the meantime, Heilbroner's own position expressed in the 1970 article was more fully elaborated in An Inquiry into the Human Prospect (Heilbroner, 1974a; hereafter HP). In HP, he includes population growth and environmental crisis as two of the three great challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. While Heilbroner feels that problems stemming from population growth and war might be avoided, he considers the environmental challenge as being in another category: [T]here is an ultimate certitude about the problem of environmental deterioration that places it in another category from the dangers we previously examined… [U]ltimately there is an absolute limit to the ability of the earth to support or tolerate the process of industrial activity, and there is reason to believe we are now moving toward that limit very rapidly. (1974a, p. 47) In his Afterword added to the 1980 edition, Heilbroner affirmed his view that “the crucial element today, as eight years ago, remains the environment—the ability of the planet to sustain the mushrooming of industrial output and to absorb the destruction that is the consequence of that vast human effort.” (1980, p. 67). And in his comments added to the 1991 edition, he remarks that “If anything, there is an uncomfortable feeling that environmental challenges are becoming worse,” although he adds with some hope that environmental awareness is also on the rise (1991, p. 75–76). By 1988, Lowe's position had also solidified in this regard. In Has Freedom a Future?, he writes: [W]e find ourselves confronted with a host of difficulties that make it doubtful whether, in the long run, even the new technological revolution can achieve the required rate of economic growth. The impediments of which we are speaking are ecological: the triad of worldwide population explosion, gradual exhaustion of essential material resources, and the pollution of the environment. The significance of this complex is much wider than the context in which I introduce it here. Though slow in its advance, it may over the long run greatly modify mankind's style of life. All I want to demonstrate here, is that even under the most optimistic assumptions, it is an ecological factor that may ultimately block the growth of the west, as it is conventionally understood. (1988, pp. 48–49) Heilbroner's position, too, has become increasingly clear in this recent period. In 1992, in his Foreword to the Gaia Atlas of Green Economics, Heilbroner embraces the “core…insistence” that “economics cannot be considered separately from…ecological concerns” (1992, p. 5). Adolph Lowe and Robert Heilbroner have both clearly understood the challenges that humanity faces regarding the environment. Both expressed concerns long before economics as a discipline or society at large began to address these issues. And by the time the environmental challenges were more widely recognized, both were at the forefront in insisting that environmental issues be placed high on the agenda of economists and policymakers. Awareness of these and related concerns is what motivated the founding and development of ecological economics. Full consideration of biophysical and ecological realities leads to sustainability conditions or rules for a sustainable economy. The insights of Lowe and Heilbroner are akin to those found and elaborated in the ecological economics' literature. Most ecological economists recognize that ecological and biophysical realities impose certain conditions on economic activity if sustainability is to be achieved (see, e.g., Lawn, 2001, Holmberg et al., 1996 and Prugh et al., 2000). This recognition has lead to investigations of the appropriate methodological foundations for ecological economics. But it is not only their work that explicitly addresses the environment or relates to environmental challenges that is relevant to the concerns of ecological economists. Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy and Lowe's Political Economics offer insights that may prove useful in developing a methodology of ecological economics.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Adolph Lowe and Robert Heilbroner were both aware of the environmental challenges facing humanity from quite early on in their work and quite ahead of their time. In addition, both Lowe's Economics and Sociology (and related writings) and Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy (itself influenced by this work of Lowe) recognized the endogeneity of the natural environment, the impact of human activity on the environment, and the implications of this for questions of method. Lowe and Heilbroner also became increasingly concerned with issues related to the environment over time, such that these issues became of prime importance in their frameworks. This work deals directly with the ecological and environmental issues; both authors also dealt with other issues that relate to the environmental challenge, such as technological change. But it is not only their work that explicitly addresses the environment or relates to environmental challenges that is relevant to the concerns of ecological economists. Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophy and Lowe's Political Economics offer insights that may prove useful in developing a methodology of ecological economics. The connections are almost uncanny. Ecological economists have taken a pluralistic approach to methodology, but the common themes in this work regarding the importance and nature of vision, of analysis (including structural analysis), scenarios, implementation, of the necessity of working backwards, of the role for imagination, rejecting the hypothetico-deductive method and the positive/normative dichotomy, and so on, all are issues that have been elaborated in Lowe's work, and in ways that are relevant to ecological economics. There are additional issues that we have not had time to elaborate—Heilbroner's Visions of the Future, e.g., would merit another whole section, at least. But the goal of the paper is actually quite modest: to make ecological economists aware of the works of the two authors, and get them interested enough to explore the possible contribution of these ideas to their methodological approach.