Ecological modernisation: restructuring industrial economies

Gouldson, A. and Murphy, J. (1997) Ecological modernisation: restructuring industrial economies. Political Quarterly, 68(B), pp. 74-86. (doi:10.1111/1467-923X.00117)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Historically, the relationship between economic development and environmental protection has been seen as one of mutual antagonism. Those who have been primarily interested in the performance of the economy have generally perceived environmental protection to be a brake on growth. Conversely, those who have been principally concerned about the quality of the environment have tended to see economic development as the root of the environmental problem. It can be argued that the consequent conflict between industrialists and environmentalists has defined the climate of environmental politics to such a degree that the level and nature of environmental policy making have been severely constrained. This conflict is clearly justified in some instances. But in recent years the concept of 'ecological modernisation' has been developed to try to move beyond it.' Ecological modemisation proposes that policies for economic development and environmental protection can be combined to synergistic effect. Rather than seeing environmental protection as a brake on growth, ecological modernisation promotes the application of stringent environmental policy as a positive influence on economic efficiency and technological innovation. Similarly, rather than perceiving economic development to be the source of environmental decline, ecological modernisation seeks to harness the forces of entrepreneurship for environmental gain. Thus, ecological modernisation suggests that economic and environmental goals can be integrated within the framework of an advanced industrial economy.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Murphy, Professor Joseph
Authors: Gouldson, A., and Murphy, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Political Quarterly
ISSN (Online):1467-923X
Published Online:17 December 2002

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record