Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2009

Between a Rock and a Soft Place: Ecological and Feminist Economics in Policy Debates

Julie A. Nelson

June 2009

Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University


The field of ecological economics includes both economic analysis on the one hand, and discussions of values and visions for society, on the other. Using feminist insights into cultural beliefs about the relative "hardness" and "softness" of these two sides, this essay discusses how ecological economists can use this unique "between" space in order to better inform policy. The current crisis of global climate change, it is argued, requires that economists move beyond modeling and measurement, while ecological thinkers need to re-examine beliefs about markets and profit.