Innovations in Sustainable Consumption
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Innovations in Sustainable Consumption

New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices

Edited by Maurie J. Cohen, Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip J. Vergragt

This timely volume recognizes that traditional policy approaches to reduce human impacts on the environment through technological change – for example, emphasizing resource efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources – are insufficient to meet the most pressing sustainability challenges of the twenty-first century. Instead, the editors and contributors argue that we must fundamentally reconfigure our lifestyles and social institutions if we are to make the transition toward a truly sustainable future.
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Chapter 3: Ecological macroeconomics: implications for the roles of consumer- citizens

Inge Røpke


The economic decline that began in 2008 opened a window of opportunity for consideration about how to combine macroecononomic and environmental concerns. This discussion is far from new, as evidenced, for instance, by the European Commission’s White Paper from 1993, which explained how a greening of the economy could go hand in hand with increased employment (European Commission, 1993). These ideas were not reflected much in actual policies, and – despite some green elements – the subsequent economic upturn was driven first of all by consumption, and in several affluent countries, fueled by credit expansion. The current revival of this discussion includes contributions from actors involved with efforts to advance a ‘Green New Deal’ (The Green New Deal Group, 2008; Schepelmann et al., 2009) that repeats the idea that the promotion of green innovation and government funding of greener infrastructure would improve competitiveness and increase employment.

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