By Dr Sian Sullivan - Birkbeck University of London – July, 2013
After reading my blog post 'The natural capital myth' (1), the Green Economy Coalition invited me to write a piece on the ‘debates around valuing natural capital’. The request was to ‘use the article to present my solution for protecting and restoring our systems in the current economic paradigm, given the current rate of ecosystem degradation and the failings of sustainable development strategies in the last 30 years’. No small task in 700 words in two weeks!
While price remains important and central, let's also include ecological elements in the price system. Prices continue to be at the centre of how economies work. Whatever the institutional arrangements and the messages coming from governments, whether something is expensive or cheap, will still be a large part of what counts, with both consumers and businesses.
The problems of the market are often reflected in problems in political systems. The short-termism of the way markets often function, creating instability for business and for whole national economies can unfortunately be amplified by the short-termism of democratic political systems.
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