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Keywords:

  • heterodox political economy;
  • institutional economics;
  • market system;
  • social structure of accumulation;
  • steady-state economy

Ecological economics remains unfinished in its effort to provide a framework for transforming the economy so that it is compatible with biophysical limits. Great strides have been made in valuing natural capital and ecosystem services and recognizing the need to limit the scale of economic activity, but the question of how to effectively transform the economy to limit the scale of economic activity remains unclear. To gain clarity about the institutional changes necessary to limit the scale of economic activity, it is essential that ecological economics understands the limitations of its neoclassical roots and expands its theoretical framework to include how markets are embedded in social and institutional structures. This has long been the domain of institutional economics and heterodox political economy.