Original Research

Another look at economic approaches to environmental management and policy with reference to developments in South Africa

Martin De Wit
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 19, No 5 | a1725 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v19i5.1725 | © 2016 Martin De Wit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2016 | Published: 09 December 2016

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Abstract

The wide acceptance of economic approaches to environmental management and policy, masks increasing heterogeneity in the field. This editorial addresses the question whether the economic approach is still warranted and under which conditions. A broad outline of the trends in both orthodox and heterodox economic approaches is also presented. The traditional split between environmental and ecological economics is not doing justice to recent developments in the field. Instead it is proposed to rather refer to Environmental, Resource and Ecological Economics (EREE), Ecological-Economic Systems (EES) and Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) approaches as well as Heterodox approaches to Environment and Sustainability (HEES). The contributions made to this special issue are placed within their respective subfields of influence. It is concluded that a deeper, self-critical exposition of moral philosophies and values as well as models of reality are needed. A strategy of engagement in an attitude of self-criticism, humility and in participation with others is proposed as a viable way forward. For such a process to be successful two conditions are required, namely valuing the human person and accepting the reality of a nondeterminate world full of meaning.

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