In this project, we address some fundamental questions concerning the search for an analytical frame for the assessment of the contribution of nature to economical development and specifically the role of nature as a productive factor in industries. We assume that the different capital stocks (e.g. natural and industrial capital) are intrinsically linked. The task is to highlight and analyse the mutual effects between industrial and natural capital in their historical context in order to be able to draw conclusions about their structural interdependencies. To examine the long-term influence of capital decisions in industry on natural capital (of a country, a region, a sector) and vice-versa, we will use a system-analytical approach which is known as the "theory of regulation". In contrast to the neo-classical theory, which deals with the analysis of short-term economic processes, the theory of regulation aims at an explanation of the long-term development of economic systems. The initial hypothesis of this approach, its main methodological orientations and their suitability for the analysis of the issue at stake are the main topics of this paper. Our intention is to stimulate the development of an alternative to the (in our opinion methodically unsatisfactory) approach of placing the decrease in natural capital (external effects) in the centre of the discussion. We believe that the upward revaluation of natural capital as a source of economic wealth is suited for elaborating the benefits of an intensive strategy with respect to the utilisation of natural resources.

Project duration

01.01.1999 - 31.12.2000

Project members

Suhita Osorio-Peters

Cooperation partner

Prof. Mary Sancy, Universität Arlon, Arel, B
Prof. Dr. Stef Proost, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, B
Dr. Friedrich Hinterberger, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Wien, AT