Ecological Economics

Good Work? Sustainable Work and Sustainable Development: A Critical Gender Perspective from the Global North


Littig, Beate. 2018. "Good Work? Sustainable Work and Sustainable Development: A Critical Gender Perspective from the Global North." Globalizations 15 (4): 565-79.

Author: Beate Littig


Work has just recently been recognized as an important topic in the discourse of development. But often it stays unclear how work is related to issues of gender equality, an indispensable goal of sustainable development from its start. The article explores how gender and work is addressed in three approaches to work and sustainable development, which are currently discussed in the German language literature on this topic: in the current mainstream concept of the green economy and green jobs, in alternative concepts of degrowth or postgrowth societies and in eco-feminist concepts of caring societies. The critical discussion of these approaches leads to the argument that a fundamental reassessment and reorganization of the critical society-nature relationship and consequently a new conceptualization of sustainable work is needed.

Keywords: sustainable work, green jobs, eco-feminism, gender equality, post growth

Topics: Development, Economies, Care Economies, Ecological Economics, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods

Year: 2018

Care Not Growth: Imagining a Subsistence Economy for All


Di Chiro, Giovanna. 2019. "Care Not Growth: Imagining a Subsistence Economy for All." The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 21 (2): 303-11. 

Author: Giovanna Di Chiro

Keywords: care work, climate justice, green economy, social reproduction, solidarity economy, subsistence perspective


"In this essay, I want to applaud Shue’s long-standing commitment to basic human rights, poverty alleviation, and advocacy of climate justice in his social and environmental policy scholarship. In the spirit of critical solidarity, I also want to probe a bit more into what I perceive to be (1) the assumptions underlying the ‘non-carbon energy system’ prospective scenario, which, I believe, relies too confidently on the rationality and efficacy of the ‘green economy’ and (2) the assumptions underlying a binary opposition between what might be considered a pre-modern, subsistence stage of development, which the privileged have a moral obligation to help others overcome, and the eco-modernist, post-subsistence future, which the green economy’s post-carbon, techno-optimist ambitions appear to promise" (Di Chiro 2019, 303-4).

Topics: Economies, Care Economies, Ecological Economics, Environment, Gender

Year: 2019

Green New Deal and the Question of Environmental and Social Justice


Herman, Christoph. "Green New Deal and the Question of Environmental and Social Justice." Combating Inequality Working Paper No. 31, Global Labour University, Berlin.

Author: Christoph Herman


The financial and economic crisis was preceded by an energy, food and climate crisis. Until 2008, prices for oil, food and various minerals were increasing due to accelerating scarcity in peak capitalism. With the outbreak of the financial turbulences, the environmental problems shifted somewhat to the background, but various academics and policy makers emphasized the multiple nature of the current crisis. A number or organizations, subsequently, called for the adoption of a Green New Deal to tackle ecological and economic problems. The idea was that investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy production would improve ecological sustainability, while at the same time generating growth and creating jobs. Some organizations saw the adoption of a Green New Deal as a first step in a transition towards a green economy. This paper critically examines the content of various Green New Deal proposals and analyzes the nature of a green economy with respect to their impact on equality. The major finding is that current concepts to not address the unequal distribution of environmental and economic assets and even tend to fortify gender inequality.


Table of Contents:
1. The Multiple Crisis of Peak Capitalism
2. Green New Deal
3. Green Economy
4. Green Jobs
5. Alternatives

Topics: Economies, Ecological Economics, Environment, Climate Change, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods

Year: 2015

World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014: Gender Equality and Sustainable Development


2014. World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014: Gender Equality and Sustainable Development. UN Women.


The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is a UN Secretary-General report mandated by the Second Committee of the General Assembly and comes out every five years. The 2014 report focuses on gender equality and sustainable development, with chapters on the green economy and care work, food security, population dynamics, and investments for gender-responsive sustainable development. The report comes at a crucial moment, as the global community grapples with the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals and the emergence of the post-2015 framework. Against this context, World Survey 2014 asserts the central role of gender equality in charting the rationale and the actions necessary to achieve sustainable development. The World Survey uses three criteria to assess whether policy actions and investments for sustainable development adequately address gender equality. Do they support women's capabilities and their enjoyment of rights? Do they reduce, rather than increase, women's unpaid care work? And do they embrace women's equal and meaningful participation as actors, leaders and decision-makers? It offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for gender-responsive policy actions and investments towards sustainable development overall, as well as for the selected areas which the World Survey emphasizes. (Summary from UN Women)


Table of Contents:
1. About the World Survey on the Role of Women in Development
2. Gender Equality and Sustainable Development
3. Green Economy, Gender Equality and Care
4. Food Security and Gender Equality
5. Population, Sustainable Development and Gender Equality
6. Investments for Gender-Responsive Sustainable Development
7. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

Topics: Development, Economies, Care Economies, Ecological Economics, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Year: 2014

Feminist Ecological Economics and Sustainability


Perkins, Patricia E. 2007. "Feminist Ecological Economics and Sustainability." Journal of Bioeconomics 9 (3): 227-44. 

Author: Patricia E. Perkins

Keywords: feminist economics, ecological economics, sustainable development, unpaid work, economic valuation, caring labor, material throughput, economic growth, gender equity, social reproduction, local economies, social change, sustaining services, social sustainability, feminism, provisioning, sustainable livelihoods, service sector, quality of life, work time, multi-tasking, discourse-based valuation, community economies, social resilience


New developments in feminist ecological economics and ecofeminist economics are contributing to the search for theories and policy approaches to move economies toward sustainability. This paper summarizes work by ecofeminists and feminist ecological economists which is relevant to the sustainability challenge and its implications for the discipline of economics. Both democracy and lower material throughputs are generally seen as basic principles of economic sustainability. Feminist theorists and feminist ecological economists offer many important insights into the conundrum of how to make a democratic and equity-enhancing transition to an economy based on less material throughput. These flow from feminist research on unpaid work and caring labor, provisioning, development, valuation, social reproduction, non-monetized exchange relationships, local economies, redistribution, citizenship, equity-enhancing political institutions, and labor time, as well as creative modeling approaches and activism-based theorizing. (Summary from original source)

Topics: Citizenship, Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Ecological Economics, Informal Economies, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism

Year: 2007

Feminism, Ecology and the Philosophy of Economics


Nelson, Julie A. 1997. "Feminism, Ecology and the Philosophy of Economics." Ecological Economics 20 (2): 155-62.

Author: Julie A. Nelson


The contemporary discipline of economics pays little heed to either the natural environment or to the work of women. A review of the literature on the historical development of western concepts of self and science shows that this is not coincidental. Rather than suggesting that ecological economics reinforce the identification of women with nature, however, feminist thought suggests that dualistic thinking about men and women, humans and nature can be should be replaced with a fuller picture of human identity and knowledge.

Keywords: feminism, economics, ecology, philosophy

Topics: Economies, Ecological Economics, Environment, Feminisms, Gender

Year: 1997

Women, Nature and the Social Construction of ‘Economic Man'


Mellor, Mary. 1997. “Women, Nature and the Social Construction of ‘Economic Man’.” Ecological Economics 20 (2): 129–40.

Author: Mary Mellor


This paper argues that the social construction ‘economic man’ is the product of a hierarchical dualism in western society that has also created ‘rational man’ and ‘scientific man’. Women and the natural world form the subordinated half of these dualisms. Central to this paper is the claim that this dualism is not only a cultural/theoretical one, but also a material one. The social construction of ‘economic man’ is the product of a bifurcated knowledge system and a materially divided society. ‘Economic man’ reflects a society in which the embeddedness and embodiedness of humanity is hidden by the division of mind from body, and science/culture from the natural world. For this reason it is not possible to incorporate women and nature into the ‘economy’ through the commodity form by according them a value as price. It is argued that the economic system can only exist if women and nature remain externalised, as women form the bridge between an autonomous individualised ‘man’ and the biological/ecological underpinning of his existence. Central to this analysis is the distinction between social and natural/biological time. ‘Economic’ man lives in social time (clock time) while women are responsible for biological time. This is not because women are closer to nature/biology in an essential sense. Rather, this relationship is imposed upon them by a male-dominated society.

Topics: Economies, Ecological Economics, Environment, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations

Year: 1997

Toward a Sustaining Production Theory


O’Hara, Sabine U. 1997. “Toward a Sustaining Production Theory.” Ecological Economics 20 (2): 141–54.

Author: Sabine O’Hara


Production is commonly described as the root of wealth creation, growth and progress. Mainline production theory ascribes this wealth generating ability to a limited number of inputs transformed into equally narrowly defined goods and services. Output which is not part of the official economy's market exchange, or inputs not employed in their production process remain external and unaccounted for. Many of these unaccounted for goods and inputs are provided in households, gardens, subsistence production, or ecological and biophysical systems through the ‘free’ services of women or nature. Thus an alternative view of production is suggested, one which views production itself as linked to the social and bio-physical contexts within which it takes place. This context first makes the generation of input streams, the receiving of output streams and the processing of inputs by means of fund factors (Georgescu-Roegen) possible. As production is contextualized it becomes evident that processes which sustain input generation, waste absorption and material transformation are critical to the production process. These are referred to as sustaining services. A sustaining production process is one which maintains sustaining services instead of destroying them. It is further argued that steps toward the implementation of a sustaining production concept require a move from abstraction to material concreteness. Three areas of concreteness are discussed as moving from solely monetary to physical valuation criteria, moving from methodological homogeneity to diversity, and moving from a mystified and distanced decision making process about quantity and quality of production to one of informed, participatory discourse.

Keywords: production theory, sustainability, ecosystem services, social sustainability, flow/ fund factors, feminist theory

Topics: Economies, Ecological Economics, Informal Economies, Environment, Gender, Women, Gender Roles

Year: 1997

The Triangle of the Human Economy: Household - Cultivation - Industrial Production An Attempt at Making Visible the Human Economy in Toto


Pietilä, Hilkka. 1997. “The Triangle of the Human Economy: Household - Cultivation - Industrial Production An Attempt at Making Visible the Human Economy in Toto.” Ecological Economics 20 (2): 113–27.

Author: Hilkka Pietilä


This paper is an attempt at outlining a comprehensive framework within which it would be possible to perceive that the totality of the human economy consists of three distinct components: household, cultivation and industrial production. Each one of these components operates according to its own particular logic. Therefore, the logic of one cannot be imposed on the logic of another without serious consequences — as is now already seen, when the logic of industrial production has hitherto been imposed upon the whole human economy. It is to be hoped that establishing a new, more comprehensive and relevant perception of the human economy as a whole would help humanity to adopt a lifestyle which will provide the prerequisites for a dignified quality of life for all people, with due respect to the ecological boundaries of the biosphere. In this process, a recognition of the economic, social and cultural contribution of women is decisive, as well as a respect for the values and priorities set within women's culture and way of life.

Keywords: women's work, gender and economics, cultivation economy, alternative economics, new theory of economics, economy versus ecology, the human economy, unpaid work and production, household as basic economy

Topics: Economies, Care Economies, Ecological Economics, Environment, Gender, Women, Households

Year: 1997

Making the Hidden Visible: The Importance of Caring Activities and Their Principles for Any Economy


Jochimsen, Maren, and Ulrike Knobloch. 1997. “Making the Hidden Visible: The Importance of Caring Activities and Their Principles for Any Economy.” Ecological Economics 20 (2): 107–12.

Authors: Maren Jochimsen, Ulrike Knobloch


In this paper we emphasize the interrelation of the monetary, free-enterprise sector of the economy and its maintaining basis. The current discussion on sustainability has so far placed too little attention on this circumstance. To us this interrelation is fundamental; it is one important key to understanding present day economics and economies. By concentrating on this interrelation we question the widely accepted dualism between the public and the private, between the officially acknowledged economic and the invisible economic. By this we create our own specific approach to the question of how to reform economic thought and action in order to achieve a naturally and socially sustainable living.

Keywords: feminist economics, discoursive ethics, ecological economics, sustainable development, caring economy

Topics: Development, Economies, Care Economies, Ecological Economics, Feminist Economics, Environment, Feminisms

Year: 1997


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