The aim of this paperis to contribute toan innovative agenda in the field of Environmental Economics. The paper focusses on a conceptual and political perspective on the interactions between nature and economy. Section 1 states that Environmental Economics has to consider three fields: nature, justice and the role of time. To operationalize this claim, we introduce fundamental concepts such as entropy, joint production, ignorance, evolution, absolute scarcity, responsibilityand homo politicusand explain them in Section 2. These concepts are applied in Section 3 using a historical example, namely the soda-chlorine industry, extending over a period of about three centuries. The lessons taken from this economic, environmental and political evolutionare outlined in Section 4. In Section 5, we apply the concept of responsibilityto address political aspects dealt with when examining the interplay between nature and economy. In our outlook in Section 6, we argue that these concepts and further concepts do not form a hierarchically structured system. Instead they are conceived as a network of interdependent concepts that reference each other but also remain categorically distinct from one another.

Faber, Malte and Marc Frick (2019), Conceptual and political foundations for examining the interaction between nature and economy, Heidelberg University, Department of Economics, Discussion Paper Series No. 659, Heidelberg. Download


Faber, Malte
Frick, Marc


absolute and relative scarcity, evolution, joint production, ignorance, responsibility, power of judgment, homo politicus