Ecological Regionalism: A Synthesis of Ecological Economics and Organicist Regionalism
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To realize visions of regional ecological and economic sustainability—extant the ecological economics literature—a unified understanding and philosophy of the region is needed. Additionally, this philosophy needs to be institutionally informed; i.e. aware of the social structures that contribute to ecological and economic degradation. Without such a foundation, policies related to ecological and economic sustainability will continue to face problematic adoption and in general inhibit our chance for a sustainable future. A review of the ecological economics literature shows that numerous ecological economists address regional issues, use the region as a unit of analysis, and/or advocate the construction of ecologically-based regions. However, a coherent view of the region and why regional sustainability policies should be utilized is lacking. Furthermore, while ecological economists such as Herman Daly and John Cobb have argued for a more institutionally and humanist-based ecological economic science, this has not been connected to regional affairs. As a contribution to ecological economics, this dissertation synthesizes Lewis Mumford’s conceptualization of organicist-based regionalism serving as the framework and philosophical foundation for a sustainable society. Mumford’s regionalism offers a superior philosophical foundation and course of action toward ecological, economic, and social sustainability that has great potential. This is because of the interdisciplinary and institutionalist basis on which the theory is grounded. This dissertation utilizes a visionary methodology found within ecological economics and provides: 1. a comprehensive analysis of how the region within the discourse and if at all regionalism is represented in the ecological economics discourse; 2. a synthesis and construction of Mumford’s organicist-based regionalism, including (a) an investigation of the current economic system for which regionalism serves as a response; (b) the delineation of organicist thought; and (c) a presentation of political, cultural, and economic regionalism; and 3. the synthesis and connection of organicist-based regionalism with applications found in the ecological economics literature.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- An analysis of a monetary production economy: attributes and shortcomings -- Delineating and practicing organicism: the philosophical foundation of a regional society -- Regional economics: promoting an economy of plentitude -- Paths and connections: synthesizing organicist regionalism and ecological economics