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Article

The Foundational Economy as a Cornerstone for a Social–Ecological Transformation

1
Department of Socioeconomics, Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1/D4, 1020 Vienna, Austria
2
Department of Spatial Planning, Centre of Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, Technical University of Vienna, Resselgasse 5/2/3, 1040 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Antonio Boggia and Anna Mazzi
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10460; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810460
Received: 17 June 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 16 September 2021 / Published: 20 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
This theoretical paper synthesises research on the foundational economy and its contribution to a social–ecological transformation. While foundational thinking offers rich concepts and policies to transition towards such transformation, it fails to grasp the systematic non-sustainability of capitalism. This weakness can be overcome by enriching contemporary foundational thinking with feminist and ecological economics. Whereas the feminist critique problematises foundational thinking’s focus on paid labour, the ecological critique targets Sen’s capability approach as a key inspiration of foundational thinking, arguing that a theory of human needs is better suited to conceptualise wellbeing within planetary boundaries. Based on this, we outline a novel schema of economic zones and discuss their differentiated contributions to the satisfaction of human needs. By privileging need satisfaction, such broadened foundational thinking demotes the tradable sector and rentier economy, thereby revaluating unpaid work as well as respecting ecological imperatives. This empowers new articulations of social and ecological struggles to improve living conditions in the short run, while having the potential in the long run to undermine capitalism from within. View Full-Text
Keywords: foundational economy; feminist economics; ecological economics; social–ecological transformation; social reproduction; planetary boundaries; consumption corridors; provisioning; human needs; wellbeing foundational economy; feminist economics; ecological economics; social–ecological transformation; social reproduction; planetary boundaries; consumption corridors; provisioning; human needs; wellbeing
MDPI and ACS Style

Bärnthaler, R.; Novy, A.; Plank, L. The Foundational Economy as a Cornerstone for a Social–Ecological Transformation. Sustainability 2021, 13, 10460. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810460

AMA Style

Bärnthaler R, Novy A, Plank L. The Foundational Economy as a Cornerstone for a Social–Ecological Transformation. Sustainability. 2021; 13(18):10460. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810460

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bärnthaler, Richard, Andreas Novy, and Leonhard Plank. 2021. "The Foundational Economy as a Cornerstone for a Social–Ecological Transformation" Sustainability 13, no. 18: 10460. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810460

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