Economics and Well Being in the EU

The “UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” between Progress and PROBLEMS:

Insights from ENVIRONMENTAL and Heterodox Economics

 

 

By Dr Arturo Herman (Italy)

Description

The “UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” between Progress and PROBLEMS:

Insights from ENVIRONMENTAL and Heterodox Economics

 

 

By Dr Arturo Herman (Italy)

Accomplished scholar and author from Rome, Dr Auturo Herman will be publishing his book with us this summer and it will be launched at our 13th Annual Green Economics Institute Conference in June 2018.

To find out more please email

info@geiconferences.org and info@geibooks.org.uk

 

Contents

 

Introduction…….……………………………………………………………………………………3

 

Part I. The “Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”

and the DEBATE ON ENVIRONMENTAL EconoMICS………………………………….5

 

  1. The “Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”……..………………………………..5

 

  1. The EU Initiatives on Sustainable Development…………………………….………….10

 

  1. The Various Strands of Environmental Economics…………………..………………..27

 

Part II. Explaining Economic Imbalances:

Insights form Heterodox Economics………….…………………………………..32

 

  1. Underconsumption: A Rather Neglected Issue……..…………………………………..34

 

  1. Keynes’s Theory of Effective Demand……………………………………………………42

 

  1. The Role of Public Spending and Credit Creation

     in Sustaining Effective Demand………………………………………………………..…52

 

  1. Implications for Some Hotly Debated Concepts……….……………………………….61

 

  1. The Role of the Structural Factors………………………………………………………..66

 

Part III. SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY AND

THE NEED OF A DEMOCRATIC PLANNING………………..………………………………72

 

  1. The Institutional Foundation of the Market………………………………………………72

 

  1. John Dewey’s Theory of Democracy and Its Relevance

      for an Interdisciplinary Perspective in Economics…………………….……………..86

 

  1. Institutional Economics, Social Valuation

      and Democratic Planning…….…………………………………………………………….94

 

Conclusions: Towards a SUSTAINABLE Paradigm……………………………108

 

References………………..……………………………………………….……………………109

This book is currently in production and will be available from May 2018

To register your interest please email info@geibooks.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In proposing a new book on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a central question comes to the fore: what is the utility of adding another book to the vast literature already existing on the subject? One reason can lie in the circumstance that, although there are many important theoretical and empirical contributions, what is relatively lacking is the synergic employ of the theories that can help explain the imbalances of our economies and the possible ways to overcome them. This is a typical problem of economics and other social sciences, which often tend to be rather fragmented.

In this regard, we have tried to bring out the significant links between environmental economics, and a number of heterodox oriented theories that ─ by helping identify a more comprehensive interpretative framework of these phenomena ─ can make headways to devise a more effective and coordinated policy strategy. To that purpose, we will consider, in particular, the theories of underconsumption, Keynesian and sustainable macroeconomics, theories of structural transformations.

In particular, we employ these theories for addressing the following central issue of sustainable development: how to render more and more compatible the objectives of (i)  full employment (however defined) and decent work; (ii) sustainable use of resources in all its forms;  (iii) substantial reduction of economic and social inequalities; (iv) scientific and technological development.

These macro-objectives are fairly related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. We have then organized the work in the following way: in the first part we will consider the main features of the Agenda 2030 and of the related UE commitment. We try to show the comprehensive character of these initiatives, and the need of realising an effective institutional and policy coordination for their progress. We then address the main strands of environmental economics, with an eye to their policy implications.

 

In the second part we will analyse a number of relevant theories which can shed light on the economic imbalances of our days, and, in particular, on the systemic tendency of effective demand to lag behind the supply of full employment. In chapter 4, we will make a reappraisal of the most important theories of effective demand, with particular attention to the aspects of divergence and reciprocal influence.

In chapter 5 we will address the main aspects of Keynes’s theory of effective demand. We try to show its revolutionary import, together with some aspects of weakness which, in our view, are caused by some adherence of such theory to neoclassical economics, in particular with regard to the relations between wages and employment. In the third section we will outline a broad theory of effective demand by considering more in detail a number of aspects of Keynes’s theory which, in our opinion, are not sufficiently clarified. In particular, the possible divergences between expected demand and effective demand, and the role of public spending and credit creation as fundamental drivers of effective demand, and profits for the entrepreneurs. Then, in chapter 6 we will focus on a number of structural factors that may contribute to render more complex and slow the dynamics of effective demand.

In the third part we will look at these issues from different but complementary angles: namely, what kind of policy action is appropriate for attaining an equitable, sustainable and progressive economy e society. In particular, considering the widespread reality of economic transactions, how should we appraise market structures, public and private action, and the role of economic planning? In order to try to cast some light on these tangled issues, in chapter 9 we will highlight, also with the aid of a number of important theories, the institutional foundation of the market: namely the circumstance that markets should be appraised, rather than as exogenous and maximizing mechanisms, as evolutionary institutions created and maintained by well defined set of norms and policies. In chapter 10 we will consider the contributions of John Dewey ─ whose perspective had many ties with institutional economics ─ to the manifold relations between culture, democracy and economic action.

In chapter 11 we will appraise the approach of institutional economics to the clarification of (i) the institutional and evolutionary nature of economic action, (ii) the need of an interdisciplinary approach for a better understanding of these phenomena and, (iii) the potential of democratic planning for overcoming the failures of the state and of the market and the role of social valuation for promoting an effective policy action.

 

In the concluding chapter we will underscore that much more than a simple laissez faire option is needed for realizing the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The theories that we address, however different in many respects, present notable complementarities, in the sense that the aspects more overlooked by one are more completely considered by the others. Hence these theories, by helping identify the manifold aspects of economic system, can make headways towards a more effective policy coordination. This would involve a horizontal level, between policies, in particular macroeconomic (in particular, fiscal and monetary) and structural (in particular, environmental, industrial, research and innovation, social). And a vertical level, between institutions (supranational, national, sub-national, local).

Such coordination would be greatly fostered by a process of social valuation involving all the considered dimensions of policy action.