Articles tagged with: Donal Dorr

Ecological Economics and Politics in the Ecology Encyclical

on Sunday, 04 October 2015. Posted in Issue 77 Caring for Our Common Home, Environment

PdfIconEcological Economics and Politics in the Ecology Encyclical

Donal Dorr

The ecology encyclical, Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home, issued by Pope Francis in June 2015, is a very wide-ranging document. It is a call for ‘an ecological conversion’ in the areas of economics and politics – and also in the spheres of spirituality, theology, culture, and education. In this article, I shall focus only on the pope’s challenge to governments and to all of us to establish an ecologically oriented economics and politics.1

Ecological Economics

At the heart of the transformation called for in the encyclical is the replacement of the present-day market-dominated economics by a truly ecological economics – or what Francis calls an ‘economic ecology’ (§ 141). He is calling for a rejection of the ‘deified market’ (§ 56). This is a term which he later explains by referring to ‘a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals’. (§ 190)

In the same paragraph, he points out that, ‘Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about … the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention.’ In that situation, he adds, ‘biodiversity is considered at most a deposit of economic resources available for exploitation ...’. (§ 190)  

An important account of one crucial aspect of an ecological economics comes in the following passage: