ecology-200Ecological Political Economy and Capitalist Crisis

Programme leader: Martin Craig

This programme considers the ‘other crisis’ confronting the British and international political economies – the rapid degradation of the Earth’s capacity to sustain social organisation as we presently understand it due to the ecological impacts of human economic activity. In this programme SPERI researchers consider the nature of this ‘socio-ecological’ crisis and its relationship with the broader contours of contemporary political-economic models, and the development of transnational governance arrangements ostensibly focused on addressing the crisis. The core strand of this research asks whether and how green industrial strategies might constitute both an effective means of growth model transformation and a political tool with which to mobilise a broad constituency in favour of such transformation. We are also addressing the implications of the concept of ‘ecosystems services’, which seeks to inform conservation decision making and stewardship compensation through the application of monetary and non-monetary values to various aspects of nature. Finally, SPERI researchers are interrogating the question of how sustainable resource use can be measured and considering how such measurements can inform national and international choices about economic development.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

  • Hayley Stevenson, Institutionalizing Unsustainability – The Paradox of Global Climate Governance, University of California Press, 2013.
  • Martin Craig, Ecological Political Economy And The Socio-Ecological Crisis: PM, 2016.
  • Hayley Stevenson, (Forthcoming) ‘Contemporary Discourses of Green Political Economy: A Q Method Analysis’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2015.111868

Ongoing projects

  • Martin Craig is a research fellow at SPERI. His research addresses the political economy of green industrial strategy in Britain. He situates the analysis of Britain’s emerging ‘green state’ amid the historical constraints that have hampered the development of industrial development policy in Britain, as well as the more recent constraints introduced by thirty five years of neoliberalisation and the financialised growth model to which it has given rise.
  • Hayley Stevenson is an associate fellow of SPERI. She will shortly complete a three-year study, funded by the ESRC, of innovations in international environmental policy. This project analyses processes of institutional learning in the design of new environmental policies in international organisations, and addresses challenges to including civil society and heterogeneous perspectives in policy design.
  • With colleagues at Carleton University (Canada), Australian National University and Griffith University (Australia), Hayley and Martin recently began work on an international project addressing the development and implications of the concept of ‘ecosystems services’ within contemporary environmental governance. This research is funded by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, The Wellcome Trust and VolkswagenStiftung.
  • Kaisa Pietila is a doctoral research student at SPERI. Her doctoral research, commencing in October 2016, addresses the relationship between sustainable resource use, economic growth and the development of contemporary growth models, focusing in particular on biodiversity.