The Ecology of Money: a Critical Assessment

Ecological Economics 178 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper assesses the proposal to transform the monetary system into an Ecology of money, that is, into a system made of a large diversity of complementary currencies. Its central aim is to examine whether this proposal could provide a systemic solution to both the ecological and financial crises, as several authors, most notably Lietaer and Douthwaite, have argued. To this end, it analyses the two main arguments in favour of this proposal. First, it focuses on the claim that an Ecology of money would be more resilient and less prone to crisis than the present monetary system. It shows that this argument suffers from several conceptual flaws and argues that it fails to provide sufficient normative reasons to favour an Ecology of money. Second, this paper analyses the claim that an Ecology of money could help defeat the monetary growth imperative that supposedly plagues our economies. The paper raises serious doubts about the existence of such an imperative and questions the claim that an Ecology of money could contribute to weaken it in a significant way.

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Louis Larue
University of Gothenburg

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