A relationship exists between the way environmental problems are conceived and the solutions that are suggested. Neoclassical economics focuses mainly on externalities generated and recommends that these are internalized by taxation. This approach has been questioned, partly from the point of view of the emerging paradigm of ecological economics, and partly from a structural perspective based on inspirations from institutional and evolutionary economics. This paper suggests that ecological economics could be integrated with a structural perspective. As a first step, the paper presents an outline of a structural perspective and illustrates how it can be applied to environmental issues. The presentation of the research programme includes the ontological basis, theses on human behaviour, the concept of social structures and the interplay between structures and actors, and methodological considerations. As an illustration, the structural perspective is applied to the phenomenon of buy-and-throw-away. In the conclusion, it is argued that the political recommendations of ecological economics can be sharpened by integration with the structural perspective.
|Title of host publication||Sustainable Development: Concepts, Rationalities and Strategies|
|Editors||S. Faucheux, M. O'Connor, J. van der Straaten|
|Place of Publication||Dordrecht|
|Publisher||Kluwer Academic Publishers|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|