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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

What Is Natural about Natural Capital during the Anthropocene?

1
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5502, USA
2
School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5502, USA
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030806
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Economics for the Anthropocene)
The concept of natural capital denotes a rich variety of natural processes, such as ecosystems, that produce economically valuable goods and services. The Anthropocene signals a diminished state of nature, however, with some scholars claiming that no part of the Earth’s surface remains untouched. What are ecological economists to make of natural capital during the Anthropocene? Is natural capital still a coherent concept? What is the conceptual relationship between nature and natural capital? This article wrestles with John Stuart Mill’s two concepts of nature and argues that during the Anthropocene, natural capital should be understood as denoting economically valuable processes that are not absolutely—but relatively—detached from intentional human agency. View Full-Text
Keywords: the concept of nature; natural capital; the anthropocene; ecological economics the concept of nature; natural capital; the anthropocene; ecological economics
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DesRoches, C.T. What Is Natural about Natural Capital during the Anthropocene? Sustainability 2018, 10, 806.

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