Positional Analysis: A Multidimensional and Democracy-Oriented Approach to Decision-Making and Sustainability
political economic person
Environmental effects of industries and plants
Renewable energy sources
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AbstractEssential principles of democracy are threatened in many parts of the world. In mainstream economics textbooks, reference to democracy is marginal or non-existent. At issue is if economics as a discipline can contribute to strengthen democracy in policy-making and decision situations more generally. In this essay, it is proposed that democracy becomes part of the definition of economics. While mainstream neoclassical cost–benefit analysis (CBA) is criticized as being technocratic, positional analysis (PA) connected with institutional ecological economics is advocated and presented with its essential elements. While a specific ideological orientation with emphasis on markets is built into CBA, PA represents an attempt to identify more than one ideological orientation or narrative as relevant among actors related to an issue. This is part of an attempt to carry out a many-sided analysis. If we wish to make the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) part of analysis, then multidimensional thinking is needed. PA is an attempt to avoid the “monetary reductionism” of CBA in favor of an analysis where monetary and non-monetary impacts (of different kinds) are separated and where, particularly on the non-monetary side, issues of inertia and irreversibility of impacts are observed.