The mythologies of environmental economics

Neil Ravenscroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper offers a polemic on the policy implications for leisure and tourism of the shortcomings of contemporary approaches to environmental economics. The paper argues that the market construct of neoclassical economics is flawed by its inability to address situations in which markets do not operate and that this flaw is exacerbated by repeated attempts to overcome the problems through inappropriate technical fixes. To illustrate the argument, seven ‘myths’ of environmental economics are identified, which highlight the flaws and examine some of the implications for policy in areas such as common property. The paper suggests that a new approach to environmental economics is required, founded on principles that are not bounded by ideas of exchange. Informed by the advances made in ecological economics, the paper considers the potential of associative economics, as set out by Rudolf Steiner in his lectures of 1922, when he identified that the assumptions of neoclassical economics would not lend themselves to a globalising world in which the nation state has declining relevance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure & Events
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 2010, available online:


  • tourism development
  • environmental economics
  • neoclassical economics
  • associative economics


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