The Handbook of Innovation and Services
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The Handbook of Innovation and Services

A Multi-disciplinary Perspective

Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal

This Handbook brings together 49 international specialists to address an issue of increasing importance for the world’s post-industrial economies; innovation as it relates to services.
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Chapter 5: The Environmental Crisis and the Economics of Services: The Need for Revolution

Jean Gadrey


Jean Gadrey1 The Earth is not a gift from our parents. It is on loan to us from our children. (Native American saying) 5.1 Introduction With a few exceptions, the economics of services, as currently constituted, takes little account of environmental or social considerations. Except in the case of transport, little attention has been paid to the links between services and the environment and scarcely any more to inequalities, whether in access to services or those caused by services (a few analyses of public services or of the dualism of service-sector employment notwithstanding). This situation is set to change, and probably quickly, in the coming years. However, the environmental and social revolution in the economics of services will come up against various obstacles, some of which are not specific to services. Four are outlined below, although this is by no means an exhaustive list. 5.1.1 Obstacle 1: delayed awareness, for a number of reasons A historically unprecedented environmental and social crisis is looming, one that might even lead to the ‘collapse’ of human life across the globe. However, awareness has been slow in coming, because the manifestations of this crisis are still limited, particularly for the dominant groups and in the rich countries. However, it has been delayed also because the solutions, which exist, conflict head-on with short-term private interests, with the similarly short-term principles driving financial globalisation and with a system that produces consumerist greed by creating superfluous needs, as reflected in, among other things, the exorbitant amount spent...

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