Introduction: an economy within the environment
The purpose of this book is to introduce you to the way that economists think, and particularly how they think about the environment. It was US President Harry Truman who frustratedly called for a one-handed economist, because he was so tired of being told, ‘On the one hand this, but on the other hand that’. But, for my money, this pluralism in economic debate is a healthy sign, which should be encouraged. Economics is a social science and therefore is inevitably going to revolve around essentially contested concepts that generate an endless debate. In fact, if anything we have seen too little plurality in recent years, with a near-hegemonic domination by the neoclassical approach. So, while this book may not be one-handed, I have certainly tried to be evenhanded in explaining the perspective of a range of different types of economics.