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Open AccessArticle

The Role of Economics and Democracy in Institutional Change for Sustainability

School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, 721 23 Västerås, Sweden
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2755-2765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6052755
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 26 April 2014 / Published: 12 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Institutional change for sustainable development does not happen by itself. Individuals and organizations function as actors to influence development processes. Reference is made to a “political economic person” (PEP) guided by her/his “ideological orientation” and “political economic organization” (PEO), guided by its “mission”. Leaving present unsustainable trends behind is a matter of politics and ideology and even power positions, where democracy plays a crucial role. The perspectives of influential (and other) actors are essential in facilitating (or hindering) change. I will discuss ideas of the role of science in society, mainstream neoclassical economics in relation to institutional economics in the spirit of K. William Kapp and Gunnar Myrdal as well as neo-liberalism as ideology (where neoclassical economics has contributed to strengthen the legitimacy of neo-liberalism). Various aspects of inertia and flexibility in institutional change processes, such as path dependence, are discussed. Emphasis is on the role of economics and how a strengthened democracy can open the door for a degree of pluralism. View Full-Text
Keywords: political economics; ideological orientation; political economic person; political economic organization; neoclassical economics; institutional economics; democracy political economics; ideological orientation; political economic person; political economic organization; neoclassical economics; institutional economics; democracy
MDPI and ACS Style

Söderbaum, P. The Role of Economics and Democracy in Institutional Change for Sustainability. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2755-2765.

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