is one of several strategies of the green movement
and Green Parties
. Its central idea is that capital
exists in nature as "natural capital
" (self-renewing productive ecosystems
that have a measurable ecological yield
or tangible benefit to humans) on which all wealth
depends. Other forms of capital that are created by humans (like infrastructural capital
and financial capital
) simply extend and optimize this natural capital with creativity, training and trust. In this view: Nature's services
are the base of a service economy
- so interfering with nature's services destroys rather than creates value, and must not be rewarded with assistance or subsidies from the state. However, other than that, competition between humans is thought to be inevitable and an effective way to organize - rather in the same way as certain animal species. In this line of thought, biologist Lynn Margulis
claimed that economics
is the study of how humans make a living, while ecology
studies how other species make a living.
More than other types of green politics, this strategy advocates monetary reform and the use of eco-friendly business models and economic policies. It usually includes any environmental policy with an intended positive economic return. An example are the rules against overfishing to allow stocks to replenish for future fishing, resulting in a so-called sustainable fishery. This pleases many scientific ecologists but not, for instance, animal rights advocates.
Eco-capitalism seeks creative policy instruments to resolve environmental problems where public goods are difficult to protect. Unlike in other green economics, it is usually very possible to construct a value of life or value of Earth analysis using eco-capitalist models, or even to reconcile the utility of various choices as would be done in neoclassical economics. Because everything is reduced ultimately to some number, a price premium can be calculated by each choice in, say, a moral purchasing or regulatory regime. This makes it possible, according to advocates, to actually make globalism work. The Kyoto Protocol, for instance, assigns a de facto value to human life in developing nations of about 1/15 the value of a life in developed nations, based on the ability of the latter to pay to prevent deaths due to climate change.
Some have described this strategy as a form of realpolitik, a constructive non-ideological compromise between the existing power structures and banking systems of the IMF and BIS and the emerging consensus that ecological systems have value.
The term Blue Greens is sometimes applied to those who espouse eco-capitalism. This can either be greens who accept or favor free market principles to achieve environmental aims or conservatives or liberals who espouse Green policies or, more generally, environmental concerns. The term should be contrasted with Red Greens.
Eco-capitalist monetary and administrative reforms
Examples of eco-friendly business models
- The privatization of eco protection e.g. http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/
- Green Business Consultant (Jim Harris, former leader of the Green Party of Canada)
- environmental entrepreneurism Bill Shireman
- Natural Capitalism eco-options; eco-arbitrage; eco-secondary markets (Lovins)
- ecopreneur "entrepreneurs using business tools to preserve open space, develop wildlife habitat, save endangered species, and generally improve environmental quality"
- TerraCycle Inc.
- Chapple, Stephen (2001) Confessions of an Eco-Redneck: Or how I Learned to Gut-Shoot Trout and Save the Wilderness at the Same Time ISBN 0-641-54292-5 Perseus Publishing - September 2001
- Comolet, A. (1991). The Ecological Renewal. From Eco-Utopia to Eco-Capitalism Le Renouveau ecologique. De l'eco-utopie a l'eco-capitalisme. Futuribles, 157(Sept.), 41-54.
- Lovins, Amory B & Hunter L (1997) Factor Four. Doubling Wealth - Halving Resource Use with Ernst von Weizacker Earthscan Publications Ltd, London
- Sarkar, Saral (1999) Eco-Socialism Or Eco-Capitalism? : A Critical Analysis of Humanity's Fundamental Choices by Saral Sarkar 1999
- Porritt, Jonathon (2005, revised 2007) Capitalism: As If The World Matters. ISBN:9781844071937 Earthscan Publications Ltd, London