Keywords: ecological economics, precept versus process-oriented definitions of ecological economics, core principles
Grounding the ecological economics paradigm with ten core principles
To date, attempts at determining what ecological economics is have focused on what is required to ensure a correct balance between ecology and economics; that is, on ensuring ecological economics is not too much of one and not too little of the other. This has led to the emergence of process-oriented definitions of ecological economics. While such definitions are useful, they are informative only to the extent that they reveal what the initial conception of ecological economics has involved and what process its continued evolution is likely to entail. For ecological economics to succeed, there is a need for a precept-oriented definition and the establishment of core principles to distinguish it from mainstream economics. Without core principles, and without a general consensus amongst ecological economists as to what these principles are, the confusion regarding what ecological economics is will continue. This paper puts forward a precept-oriented definition of ecological economics. It also outlines how a set of core ecological economic principles might best be established. Finally, it details the likely nature of these principles and what effect they will have on the policies prescribed and indicators employed by ecological economists.