Beyond Capitalism? Lecture Plymouth Business SchoolPublished by Tony Juniper on Wed, 03/10/2012 - 12:00am
On 3rd October Tony delivered the inaugural lecture in the Plymouth Business School Beyond Capitalism? Lecture Series.
The series of lectures from eminent speakers will explore how businesses and policy makers can help to promote and prepare for new economic models that are likely to emerge in the next few days. Further details of these can be found on the link above.
I feel very honoured to have been asked to open this timely and important lecture series. It is a real privilege to have this opportunity to address what is undoubtedly the most important question facing humankind today: namely, how to build an economic system that is fit for purpose in the face of the multiple challenges that confront us in the early 21st century.
I must begin by pointing out that I am not an economist. I am an environmentalist. But since capitalism is not only about economics but also politics, ecology, development and society, I hope you will agree that pretty much everyone has an interest in this question, and that that the views of non-economists should very much inform our direction of travel, as we begin the tricky task of moving beyond classical capitalism, and toward something more durable and appropriate for the times we live in.
Before I move on to matters of society, development and ecology, however, let me begin with a brief bit of history, history that many of us grew up with. During the Cold War, many of us witnessed what turns out to have been the defining struggle of the late twentieth century. It was between two economic visions – one based on markets and the other government planning. The former, of course, prevailed, with the recent trend very much toward withdrawal of government running economies and their influence progressively replaced by the forces of markets and competition.
Just how profound this shift has been was underlined this August when Russia became a member of the World Trade Organisation, in the process formally agreeing to open its economy to foreign investment and removing tariffs so that international competition might be introduced in key economic sectors. What a change compared with the 1980s, and the time when this vast country’s economy was planned and delivered from the capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Moscow.
The fall of soviet-style socialism was one of the most significant historical events to shape the modern global context, and for many confirmed that the great ideological debate was over. Capitalism was the only game to play, and in the wake of the demise of the Soviet-style socialism a new wave of confidence in capitalism ensued. From the deregulation of financial markets to the rise of the World Trade Organisation and from the privatisation of previously state-run organisations to the proliferation of personal finance products, the hallmarks of capitalist thinking have become ever more evident at every level across societies worldwide.
Having said this, it is important to recognize that capitalism comes in various forms, from the socially-aware and high-tax Scandinavian style through to the American version, which is founded more on naked greed and general skepticism about government. Most countries with capitalist economies are located somewhere in between, with government more or less running, or at least regulating, quite a lot of what enables countries to work effectively, while at the same time favouring competitive markets to deliver much of what societies need. And while capitalism was historically associated with the western countries, there are also versions of such economics operating outside the normal democratic context, such as in China for example.
Whatever the style of capitalism, all are more or less based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods and services for profit. Capitalist systems are characterized by competitive markets, wage labour, capital accumulation and voluntary exchange.
The label of Neoliberalism is often applied to an ideologically extreme form of capitalist thinking. Neoliberal ideology is to greater and lesser extents visible in the politics of the USA, UK and various international organisations, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. These countries and organisations, along with the less pure forms of capitalist policy and delivery, now dominate the global picture. A few socialist outliers remain, in the form of Cuba and North Korea for example, but these socialist dictatorships are now very much the exception.
So capitalism has apparently swept all before it. But have its variants actually delivered on the rhetorical claim that it is the best system through which to deliver what people want and need? There is inevitably a lot of complexity in finding a balanced answer to that, but I will offer a few reflections in relation to two broad headings that have recently been at the core of the debate about the future of economic ideas, namely poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
The results of economic growth achieved by capitalist economies have undoubtedly brought benefits to billions of people, through among other things generating employment, elevating living standards and extending lifespans. The rapid emergence of super economies with their mushrooming middle class consumers such as Korea, Mexico, Brazil, India and China provide cases in point. The success of these and others in attaining Western-type comforts for so many of their citizens, and doing it so quickly, has left many even more convinced of the merits of capitalist economics. There is, however, plenty of evidence to suggest we pause before claiming an unmitigated success.
While in recent decades measures of absolute poverty have improved, there are still hundreds of millions of people who don’t eat properly, and more than two billion living on just a couple of dollars per day, or less. And in the countries that have succeeded in harnessing capitalist economics to improve overall living standards, there has been a tendency for different kinds of inequalities to dramatically increase, and this often comes with a considerable social cost.
In their book The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett present reams of data to assess the relationships between income inequality and various social indicators, including rates of teenage pregnancy, life expectancy, drug abuse, levels of trust in societies, illiteracy, the incidence of crime and psychological illnesses. These authors demonstrate with data gathered from right across the world how a clear pattern emerges. The bigger income inequalities become, then the more pronounced these and other social challenges get. Intriguingly, these authors also set out how the overall wealth of a society is often not the main determinant of good outcomes for people, but rather the scale of the disparity between the richer and poorer people. Where that gap is smaller then societies tend to be happier and do better.
There are a number of causes for this broad relationship but the stress caused to the less well-off through being constantly exposed to those who are doing better is generally at the root of it. It is important to point out though that it is not only the poor who suffer from inequalities, the richer segments of societies also pay, for example in being exposed to more crime. In hearing this information bear in mind that this is not an ideological or political point, but a fact based on a great deal of data.
There is also a lot of information to show how efforts to reduce poverty by lifting the bottom through growth in the overall size of economy is often a very inefficient way to promote social wellbeing, not least because a very high proportion of new growth is often accumulated by the already well-off, rather than the poor. Thus while growth can cut poverty, in many capitalist economies there is a tendency at the same time to increase inequalities.
Some still claim that the rich getting richer is good for everyone, including poorer people, because when their wealth is spent it will spread through all of society. But the idea of wealth trickling down and in the process leaving the poor better off is now widely discredited as a viable strategy for ending poverty, and has been for sometime, because the wealth tends to remain concentrated among the rich. Again, this is not an ideological point, it is one based on facts and data.
One obvious question that follows from all this is to ask whether different societies should look to the example of the Scandinavian countries, where social inequalities are lower and social indicators correspondingly better, and whether we can learn from how they have used economic growth to maximize social benefits. The answer to that is in my opinion a qualified yes, but at the same time raises some other questions, not least that of the environmental costs that come even with Scandinavian lifestyles.
These countries are very ‘green’ in terms of their culture and protection of their own national environments, but they have huge per capita environmental footprints. For example, and according to WWF’s Living Planet Report, Danish citizens have the fourth largest per capita impact in the world, bigger than that of US citizens, largely caused by the demand for resources and environmental capacities imported from the rest of the Earth.
So even in the socially progressive and green-thinking Scandinavian countries the economic growth that has brought so many social benefits comes with an unsustainable ecological price tag. This is reflected in a wide range of troubling ecological indictors from rising greenhouse gas emissions to species extinction and depletion of natural resources. This is far from being a purely environmental point, however.
The natural renewal of soil fertility, carbon capture undertaken by peat bogs and forests, the replenishment of freshwater, crop pollination, the protection of coasts by mangroves and corals, the productivity of ocean fisheries, food production and the technological innovations inspired by biological diversity are among a range of economically vital services that are derived from and are totally dependent on natural systems.
You might not think of peat bogs, forests and coral reefs as financially valuable service providers, but the fact is that they deliver complex and interwoven natural services that play vital economic roles. Without them our coasts would be less protected and fresh water unreplenished. Innovations in technology would also suffer without the natural capital that inspires biomimicry in everything from car designs to adhesives.
Even where the dependencies between ecology and economy are obvious, many pro-market thinkers argue that the degradation of the environment is an acceptable price to pay, because the benefits we derive from growth have such a high social value. At best, they say, the competing aims of economic growth and environmental protection should be balanced, as if some level of ecological damage is an acceptable price that must be paid in return for development.
There is an increasing body of evidence to show that this line of thinking is deeply flawed, however, not least because the consequences of environmental degradation will impact on growth (and indeed they already are). The Stern Review on climate change, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), which looked at the state of nature, and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), that set out to assess nature’s value, including for businesses, are among a raft of recent high level international studies to present analysis demonstrating the fundamental dependence of economies on Nature.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment for example pointed out how it will not be possible to continue with the present approach to poverty reduction because damage to ecosystems, seen for example in water stress and soil damage, will limit the ability of economies to grow.
This obvious point is now widely accepted, with the loss of so-called ecosystem services, along with diminished climatic stability, increasingly seen as sources of self-defeating feedbacks that as time goes by will impact more and more negatively on traditional economic indicators. It seems to me that the only real question is about the timescale, although recent events confirm that climatic change has now transformed from a projected future risk into a real and present danger in the here and now, in part seen in higher food prices caused by heat, drought and flooding.
With these points increasingly accepted among even quite ideologically pure capitalists, many suggest that the answer is to be found in technology, or at least that is what one popular narrative holds. This view is predicated on the idea of decoupling environmental impacts from growth, through doing things more cleanly and efficiently. So is nuclear power, GM crops, electric cars and other technology-based solutions, delivered through the same set of market-based economic forces that sustain the existing form of capitalism, the way to go? One test of the answer to that question is down to whether sufficient levels of efficiency can be achieved at the same time as more economic growth takes place.
Analysis by the economist Tim Jackson, and presented in his book Prosperity Without Growth, reveals the rather fundamental limitations embedded in what is otherwise the rather comforting notion whereby we can have our cake and eat it – to continue to grow while remaining within the limits of what ecosystems and the climate can indefinitely sustain. In making his assessment of what level of decoupling might be needed, Jackson looked at the question of carbon dioxide emissions.
One scenario he prepared, and which is the one that aspiration, policy, demographic momentum, practice and thinking are presently geared to, assumes that in 2050 that there will be a human population in excess of nine billion people, that everyone will enjoy European living standards and that during the period between now and then global economic growth will proceed at about two per cent per year. Add all those demands together, at the same time as meeting a global carbon emissions reduction target of 80 per cent compared with levels in 1990, then it will be necessary to reduce the present average of 768 grammes of carbon released for each dollar of wealth created down to six grammes per dollar.
In other words, there will need to be an effective decarbonisation of development and growth. I think it is fair to say that the world is nowhere near embarking on a style of development that will deliver this, but is still wedded to growth as if there were no ecological constraints. No wonder climate change denial has become such a growth industry in recent years.
Jackson asks the highly pertinent question as to what kind of macroeconomics might be able to deliver such a transformation. He doesn’t reach very clear conclusions as to what the answer might be, but then neither does anyone else, including those on the political left. If the outcomes from the Rio Plus 20 conference earlier this year are anything to go by then business as usual, albeit with a few green tweaks, appears to be very much the intended direction of travel.
The outcome document from that meeting, called Future that we want talks about the emergence of a ‘Green Economy’, but the many references to ‘sustained economic growth’ underline how governments have collectively prioritized traditional patterns of development over genuinely sustainable ones.
The climate change challenge is unfortunately but one among several pressing global environmental questions. Johan Rockström and his colleagues at the Stokholm Environment Institute mapped what they called a safe operating space for humanity in relation to nine planetary boundaries. The climate change one is already across what these authors considered to be a safe boundary within which human wellbeing can be secured, but worse still are the impacts human activities are causing to nutrient cycles, and far worse again are the impacts on biodiversity.
Well so what?, some might say, the nutrient enrichment is simply a measure of how successful we have been in raising agricultural yields, while the loss of biodiversity is nothing new – after all, species have been going extinct since life began.
This has indeed been the reaction of some economists, political thinkers and commentators, but recently a body of evidence has begun to accumulate as to the value of Nature and the extent to which we rely on it for our economy to function.
I mentioned earlier the findings of different specialist processes, including TEEB and the MEA, and how these have influenced the modern discussion about the links between ecology and economy, but it is worth mentioning a seminal piece of work that preceded these, and which underlined the importance of Nature for economies.
Robert Costanza and his colleagues at Stanford attempted to put a financial value on all the services provided by ecosystems. Their paper, published in Nature in 1997, estimated what it would cost to replace the services provided by soils, forests, oceans and all the rest of the Earth’s diverse ecosystems. Their conclusion was that Nature was worth about double global Gross Domestic Product. And like others they concluded that the present style of economic growth was in danger of undermining its own ability to continue, as current patterns of economic growth mine out the ecological capital that has thus far sustained it. The relationship is simple. With no ecology, there is no economy.
In a more recent attempt to understand the scale of this hidden cost of development, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative teamed up with the UN Programme on Responsible Investment and asked a research company called Trucost to look at the costs of the impacts of human activities on natural capital. Some remarkable findings came back.
The top line estimate was that Global environmental damage caused by different human activities in 2008 had a financial value of about US$6 .6 trillion – equivalent to 11 per cent of world GDP that year. This study estimated that about a third (or US$2 .15 trillion) of the damage was caused by the world’s top 3000 companies.
In reading the results of this study, and in looking at how nearly all companies blithely continue as if there was no problem at all, I was reminded of the observation made by philosopher Kenneth Boulding, who pointed out how “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” Quite.
So if the failures in the present versions of capitalism are in part evident in its social and environmental consequences, never mind its economic shortcomings, what is the job of an economic system to replace it?
Kate Raworth at Oxfam came up with an idea that it seems to me is a good fit with what we need to work towards. She argues for an economy that works to create a safe and just operating space for humanity. Working with Rokstrom’s boundaries, and placing within them the needs of people, it is a beguilingly simple but rather powerful expression of what any economic system should be seeking to achieve. I think the only way anyone could seriously disagree with this is by denying that the world has social challenges to meet or environmental problems to deal with.
In making these rather fundamental criticisms of modern capitalism in terms of its social and environmental shortcomings, I must of course mention the related critique of capitalism that comes in the wake of the debt-fuelled financial crisis, exacerbated by greed and corruption at the heart of major financial organisations. Processes, incentives and institutions that were believed to be essential for a market-based approach to competitiveness and growth were in fact the cause of serious damage to that system’s ability to function.
The collapse and near collapse of various banking and other financial organisations has contributed to a massive sovereign debt crisis that has threatened to bring down one of the world’s major currencies and has plundered what were among the most prosperous countries on Earth into a period of economic crisis and recession.
I hazard to guess that I am not alone in feeling rather uneasy looking at the circumstances that face humankind in the second decade of the 21st century, a situation in which poverty remains a scar on the face of global society, where deepening inequalities are leading to social tensions, where natural systems are showing signs of stress or collapsing and critical commodities subject to serious price volatility as critical natural resources are depleted, and all at the same time as our demands and sheer numbers increase inexorably. Add to that a major financial crisis, and you might be forgiven for thinking that the challenges we face are rather profound.
My uneasiness derives not only from the statistics, but also the evident difficulties involved in doing anything decisive to address these deeply interrelated challenges. For many critics of business-as-usual the remedies to the problems at hand, in the form of more deregulation or more export-led growth, look rather like they will perpetuate the cause of our ills more than they will prove to be solutions. If there was ever a case of hope triumphing over experience, then surely this is it, they say.
Our population is set to soon go over nine billion, and given the demand of those in poverty not to be poor, it seems to me that the key question is to find out what kind of system could sustain flourishing human societies while keeping its impacts to within what the Earth can sustainably supply. This seems to me to be the key question of the 21st century, and it is, to put it mildly, surprising that possible answers are not being debated more.
One contribution I will offer comes through a new book that will soon be published and which is called What has Nature ever done for us?  During the course of researching and writing this volume, I came to the conclusion that humanity needs to embark on a journey leading to the emergence of what might be called a ‘bioeconomy’, that is an economic system that is harmomised with the biosphere, the system that sustains life on Earth, because without that natural system there can be no economic development, capitalist, socialist or anything else.
How to do this is of course not simply an environmental question. For if a bioeconomy is to work then it is quite clear that more social equality will be an essential measure of success. This is because, and as Kate Raworth has so eloquently pointed out, there is not enough Earth to go around in meeting the needs of even a couple billion high-level Western-type consumers, never mind nine billion of them. If poverty is to be ended and everyone’s needs met, then a fairer sharing of the planet’s capacities is a prerequisite. To this extent the challenge is not primarily about efficiency, but rather matters of equity.
It is a matter of simple arithmetic. The numbers don’t add up, and if we are going to balance the global equation then deep change will be needed.
But what could a sustainable bioeconomy that supports happy lives for upward of nine billion people look like in practice? The answer is complex, but I will set out a few headings that I believe will be the hallmarks of this yet-to-emerge economic idea.
One basic underpinning will arise from different measures of success. After all, and as many business people will say, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if we are measuring the wrong things we will very likely get the ‘wrong’ outcomes. This is well-trodden territory these days, and even appeals to the likes of David Cameron, who has lately become an advocate for gathering data on happiness to complement those which describe growth in Gross Domestic Product.
The basic idea is to move from measuring income and how much stuff and services are being used, to looking more at, for example, the quality of peoples’ lives and the extent to which they are long and fulfilling. The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a famous pioneer in this respect, having introduced the measure of Gross National Happiness as the principal means of measuring the country’s progress. Carol Graham’s recent book cogently sets out the argument for going in this direction.
New metrics of economic performance must also embrace the environmental costs involved in delivering happy and fulfilling lives. It is possible to do this, and a lot of brain power is being devoted world-wide into understanding how to widen and present different data so that economics might better reflect progress toward elevated human wellbeing achieved within the bounds of what the Earth can sustain.
This will in part rely on the more widespread use of tools that help reflect the economic value of Nature. The world has taken baby steps on this subject so far, with for example the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme requiring some industries to feel (in a financial sense) the damage they are causing to the planet’s climatic stability through costs they must meet through purchasing of carbon credits.
While broadly a step in the right direction, this approach goes nowhere near far enough. What is needed is a global programme to make upstream levies on fossil fuels taken at gas fields, oil wells and coal mines, that is at the point of extraction. The trillions of dollars of revenues derived from this could be used to fund global programmes of, among other things, education and disease prevention, in the process thereby not only driving new markets for clean energy, but also improving social indicators and reducing inequalities.
And carbon is not the only aspect of biosphere management that needs to be brought into mainstream economics. Schemes that pay for ecosystem services, such as water supply and flood protection must be rapidly scaled up. Another tool that will be vital in helping bring Nature more into the mainstream economy is ecological taxation.
On this latter subject there is wealth of research and modeling into how such levies might be used to not only improve environmental outcomes but also social ones through, for example, reducing taxes on income and instead raising government revenue, through charges on pollution and waste (which are generally caused more by richer people than poorer ones). Of course, the more successful such taxes are in cutting pollution the less tax will be collected, but there are ways in which those kinds of downsides can be managed.
These and other tools could be deployed to accelerate the emergence of a ‘circular economy’, one in that mimics Nature, in which there is no waste, only resources for other processes.
Taxation could be used to not only reduce some of the incentives for reckless behavior in the financial sector but at the same time to raise hundreds of billions of dollars per year for development through the use of Tobin Tax-type tools.
There are also tools available for more fairly sharing out ecological sensitive resources, such as energy and water. One such approach involves charging progressively more for each unit of such resources with increasing consumption. Thus the cost per litre of water would rise in line with per capita use. Filling a kettle would be free but filling a private swimming pool expensive.
It will also be vital to shift patterns of investment. For example incentives could be introduced so that finance is moved toward more productive and sustainable enterprise, rather than given free rein to seek financial profit, even when the social and environmental costs might be huge. This could be via, for example, some form of corporation tax relief for those financial institutions that have adopted sustainable development goals, strategies and metrics that progressively take their investments out of fossil energy and into renewables, for example.
This process could be moved forward more quickly through changing the duties of the directors of listed companies, shifting their focus so that they are not only legally required (as now) to generate returns for shareholders, but to improve the welfare of society and their customers.
And then there is the matter of subsidies. Despite the free market rhetoric that comes from many economics ministries, unsustainable industrial farming, over-fishing and fossil fuel extraction and use are among industries that receive many hundreds of billions of dollars in government support each year. Different forms of public support to these and other sectors incentivize unsustainable impacts on soils, water, biodiversity and climatic stability. In the process global public goods are being liquidated at the same time as capital accumulates in fewer hands, thereby exacerbating inequalities. Would it not be wise to shift these subsidies to that more equitable and sustainable outcomes were encouraged?
One way that States could determine how best to allocate financial incentives is through strategic planning. If countries knew better what resources they had, what value they held and how they could be used in the most optimal manner to improve social wellbeing, then more durable outcomes could be secured. For example, if a tropical country wished to conserve its rainforests at the same time as increasing farm exports, incentives could be offered to the growers of commodity crops such as soya and palm oil to encourage them to use already degraded land, rather than clearing more virgin forests. This could in part be achieved through the reallocation of existing subsidies.
I realize that the very mention of government strategy will cause apoplexy among many Neoliberalists, not least because the idea conjures memories of Soviet-style Central Planning, and all the state versus market arguments that come with that, but the role of governments in taking the overview is key and there is a lot of data to back that point of view.
Finally, I call for economists to challenge the way in which their profession looks at the ecosystems which underpin development. At present the world’s forests, fisheries, soils, freshwater aquifers and all the rest are treated by economists as a set of flows, a series of dividends that will somehow continue to flow from the stock of natural capital, as financial stocks can do. This notion represents, however, a dangerous misconception, because in reality we are liquidating stocks of natural capital in ways that will prevent future flows. If a financial institution ran its affairs on that basis it would be closed down and its directors put in prison (at least in the USA they would be).
I realize I am making some big asks here, but is this lecture anti-capitalist, am I saying that we need to abandon capitalist ideas and tools? Well no, I am not. There are vital and central roles for investment, markets and competition in what I have just set out, but not as some see now, with these attributes of capitalist economies being regarded as automatically good in their own right, in being ends in themselves, but rather as tools and the means to advance social and ecological goals, in part driven by the kinds of measures I talked about a few moments ago, and based on new metrics, different tax regimes, redirected subsidies and government-led strategic planning on how best to use natural capital.
But while this lecture is not anti-capitalist, it is very much a critique of those capitalists who refuse to accept the fast-accumulating bodies of social, economic and environmental data, and to reflect the implications of all that in how we plan for the future, including through the economic and development strategies adopted by governments.
Different people have different reasons for resisting the implications of the data, for example the protection of vested interests or the advancement of neoliberal ideology, and this is why all this is not simply a matter of matching data to policy-making. That has allegedly been going on for a long time but events in the real world show how it often doesn’t work terribly well.
And the reason it doesn’t work is not because of the absence of policy options or the quality of the data, it is because of the extent to which different social groups feel their interests are being reflected in the decisions being made. That is called politics, and while there is a lot to be said about that, one thing that is clearly central to politics is public awareness, knowledge and visible debates that make transparent the choices before us.
Many actors shape outcomes in that space, from the media to political parties and from pressure groups to scientific bodies. The education system also plays an important role. Under that latter heading I include tertiary institutions, and their economics departments and business schools. How many of them are really exploring the nature of the multi-dimensional challenge at hand? It seems to me that many of them need a new agenda, it might be summed up in the following exam question: “Describe the economic, political and social system that will ensure thriving human societies exist in the 22nd century”. In my humble opinion anyone who describes continuing with what we are doing now should be failed.
And the second question, perhaps one for political scientists as well as economists, goes like this. “Describe how a new fit-for-purpose economic idea can be developed to the point where it has popular backing and is debated in the political mainstream”. In finding the answer to that one it seems to me as vital that we now leap beyond the tired left-right political debate that still dogs the economic discourse, and to move into a real-world discussion that is less about historic struggles and more the future that is nearly upon us.
Perhaps we should reflect on the outcome of the Cold War and how two ideologically-driven and uncompromising sides were locked in a war of ideas that only ended when one system collapsed. There is a lot of data out there to show how the system we live with now is doomed to eventual collapse, but in this case there is no alternative waiting in the wings to triumph as an old order fails. Perhaps if history has taught us anything then perhaps it is the limitations and dangers that come with dogma. To this extent, I not only challenge capitalists to wake up and read the data, but also those on the left of politics to see the limits of old-world socialism.
I have covered a lot of ground and in the process hardly scratched the surface of many wickedly complex issues while raising some very big questions. While finding answers will not be simple, I am delighted that the University Plymouth has chosen to put these questions on the agenda, and given them prominence they deserve.
It has been an absolute honour for me to be asked to offer some reflections this evening and I hope my points will at least help in getting the discussion going. I am very much looking forward to hearing of the ideas of future contributors, and sincerely hope that some take root. The world really needs them, and fast.
 Wilkinson, R. and Pickett K., (2009). The Spirit Level – Why equality is better for everyone. Penguin Books.
 Arndt, H. W., (1983). The "Trickle-down" Myth. Economic Development and Cultural Change Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 1-10.
 WWF, Global Footprint Network, Zoological Society of London and European Space Agency, (2012). Living Planet Report. WWF, Gland.
 Stern, N.,Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, (2006). The Economics of Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.
 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
 TEEB, (2010). The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report for Business - Executive Summary. TEEB.
 Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet. Earthscan.
 Rockström, J. et al., (2009) A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461, 472-475.
 Costanza, R. et al., (1997). The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387, 253 – 260.
 Trucost (2011). Why environmental externalities matter to institutional investors. PRI and UNEP FI.
 Raworth, K. (2012). A safe and just space for humanity. Oxfam.
 Juniper, T (in prep). What has Nature ever done for us? – how money really does grow on trees. Profile books.
 Graham, C., (2011). The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being. Brookings institution Press.