On the prospect of an ecological liberalism
By G. J Paton
Routledge – 2011 – 256 pages
Series: New Political Economy
The ideas of neoliberalism perpetuate a disembedded and dichotomised view of economy-ecology relations. The renewed interest in climate change and sustainability attests to the lack of progress achieved by the ‘sustainable development’ regime and to the need for more appropriate frameworks for guiding social organisation toward ecological sustainability. This book is born of the need for a critique of current approaches to environmental policy and governance and the search for alternative sustainability frameworks.
Utilising a conceptual approach based on the Polanyian concept of ‘embeddedness’, this book argues that the links between economic theory, neo-liberalism, and the current regime of sustainable development, have rendered ‘sustainability’ a discursive frame in the service of economic rather than ecological goals. In rejecting the integrity of ‘environmental neo-liberalism’, Paton argues there are some clear points of divergence between liberalism and neo-liberalism. She subsequently examines separately the impact on liberalism of efforts to integrate environmental concerns in order to determine if therein lies the potential for an effective reformist politics of ‘ecological sustainability’.
Introduction, 1. Ecological Political Economy, Part 1: Theorising Embeddedness for Sustainability, 2. Ecological Sustainability and Embeddedness, 3. Embeddedness in Liberalism and Neo-liberalism, Part 2: Policy and Governance for Sustainability, 4. Changing Discourses of Sustainability, 5. Environmental Neo-liberalism, Part 3: Greening Liberal Theory for Sustainability, 6. The Substantive Roots of Liberalism, 7. Economic Liberalism, 8. Political Liberalism, 9. Social Liberalism, 10. The Sustainability of Liberalism
G.J Paton is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, Australia.