Book Review of “The Political Economy of Sustainability”

Abstract: This book is an intellectually stimulating academic work on the political economics of sustainability. It covers a great range of topics making it a valuable academic resource for a university’s master’s level course and for any academic research work. Although Professor Gale took an academic approach, the book is also meant for a quick pickup at any airport bookshop and will be a great treasure for someone’s personal library, and is a must-read for a policymaker. The title itself will attract a reader’s attention as it conveys a message. The book critically answers the ‘why’ question and explains the reasons for which the sustainability agenda has not been able to spread out its wings fully even though the agenda has noble intentions and is embedded in good values and principles. The author succinctly describes the standpoint of the political economy of sustainability. He mentioned that: [W]ithin political economy, the usefulness of things are only considered from an anthropocentric perspective. Things are useful to individuals and groups, never to the natural systems of which they are an inherent part and for which they perform a vital function. In short, there are no resources within the political economy to account for a thing’s nonhuman usefulness. From the standpoint of a political economy of sustainability, therefore, which recognizes that a thing can be useful beyond its usefulness to humans. In addition to explaining the political–economic dimension of sustainability, the book provides a sound conceptual clarity to the concept of ‘economic nationalism’, ‘communitarianism’, ‘development’, ‘economic liberalism’, ‘economic value’ and ‘economic socialism’. At the same time, the book analyses arguments of neoclassical economics, Keynesianism, Marxism, and thoughts of David Ricardo and Adam Smith.

Goswami, K (2019) (Book Reviewed), ‘The Political Economy of Sustainability, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar Publishing’ in Journal of Development Policy and Practice, Vol. 4. No.1, pp 1-3.