Natural Capital: Dollars and Cents/Dollars and Sense
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Purpose: – This paper aims to discuss natural capital by offering some viewpoints on the economic rationality facilitated by the concept. The paper highlights the likely performativity of the concept and, ultimately, how this may impact us. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on existing literature to develop its arguments. Findings – The concept of natural capital may be necessary and accepted, but it is not benign and it facilitates the expansion of economic rationality to new areas. The paper uses some examples to draw out some potential implications of economic rationality that the concept of natural capital may facilitate that are morally dubious. Research limitations/implications – This paper is a cautionary note to those who might use the concept of natural capital and offers considerations through the use of examples. Practical implications – The practical implications of this paper are that users of capitals or natural capital frameworks should consider all the potential outcomes of applying those frameworks and whether they are desirable. In particular, it argues that the application of capital frameworks facilitates the expansion of economic decision logics to those areas that are currently not mediated in such a way and this outcome may not have favorable outcomes. Social implications – This paper highlights how the use of the concept of natural capital could advance economic rationality to those interactions that are not classically considered economic. It argues that this advance may result in economic rationality being applied to our person-to-person (social) interactions, and, thus, the right and wrong of such interactions is measured via an economic calculation. A result one may not consider desirable but may be unavoidable through applying capitals frameworks. Originality/value – In drawing on existing literature, the originality lies in its discussion of how natural capital is not a neutral term, its framing will likely have implications.
Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
© 2015 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified