John M. Gowdy and Aneel Salman
Peter G. Brown and John Gowdy
The twentieth century founders of ecological economics recognized that there must be a close connection between Earth system science and economic theory and policy. Unfortunately, their dire predictions of the inability of standard economic theory to address ecological and social catastrophes have come to pass. Given the magnitude of current crises in Earth systems and human social systems and the economic failure of neoliberalism, the need for a new understanding of the economy and economic policy is obvious. This new understanding can be grounded in another, almost unnoticed, collapse. Our ancient Judeo–Christian–Muslim belief in the god-like centrality of humans in the universe has been swept aside by modern science. Unwittingly, however, the old creation stories still underpin current mainstream social science and are embedded in concepts like “justice,” “property,” “ethics” and “human nature.” Of particular importance to formulating science-based theories and policies are new empirical findings and theoretical breakthroughs in evolutionary biology. We use current understandings from evolutionary biology to advance the term “Ecozoic” as a way to open the door to a new conception of human/Earth relationships based on mutualism, reciprocity, and respect. This is the great work that lies before ecological economics, if we are to fashion a “civilization” worthy of the name.
Joshua Farley, John Gowdy and Stephen Marshall
In the nineteenth century, society underwent a Great Transformation from a pre-modern system to our current fossil-fueled, growth-oriented, market system. The ecological and social costs of this transformation pose an existential threat to human civilization, and result from prisoner’s dilemmas in which competitive self-interest undermines social well-being. We call for a research and action agenda into the intentional cultural changes that will be required to achieve a second Great Transformation to an ecologically sustainable and socially just economy powered by alternative energy. Four elements of this agenda include the factors that determine whether individual or collective action is best suited for solving a particular problem; the nature of the ecological-economy as a co-evolutionary system, the evolution of cooperation through multi-level selection; and the role of norms and institutions in promoting or undermining the cooperation and collective action required to address prisoner’s dilemmas.