chapter  8
29 Pages

Local economic development and ecological modernization

The possibility that promoting good environmental practices can simultaneously encourage business growth has become the inspiration for a new set of local economic development policies (Gibbs 2002; Cohen 2006). Eco-industrial parks (Gibbs et al. 2005); local environmental taxes (Brady and Jackson 2003); ‘buy local’ campaigns (Midmore and Thomas 2006); and assisting the uptake of ‘clean’ technologies (Gibb 2002: 120-122) are some of the initiatives in this vein. Targeting ‘win-win’ outcomes of improving environmental sustainability while promoting local economic development, or even ‘win-win-win’ outcomes (simultaneous environmental, economic and social gains) frequently centres around encouraging some form of increased regional self reliance. In the extreme, it has been argued that all goods and services that reasonably could be provided locally should be (Hines 2000). Others, sympathetic to the desirability of greater local self suffi ciency for environmental and economic advantage, recognize that the case for increased localization frequently relies on arguments that are ‘over simplifi ed’ and ‘over romantic’ (Gibbs 2002: 86). Efforts to build more self reliant regional economies have reinforced rather than resolved the uncertainties associated with this agenda (Midmore and Thomas 2006). Within any locality some opportunities for increasing local linkages may exist, but as these opportunities are revealed so are the reasons why self reliance is unattainable.