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Economy and Sustainability

MESS24, 7.5 credits

The Economy and Sustainability course briefly reviews economic theories and economic growth and analyses their environmental and social consequences, for instance, environmental degradation, social welfare and equity.

In this course the students will develop competencies in critically assessing the implications of different economic paradigms for transformative change and weighing the trade-offs for each. During the course, students will:

  • critically review and problematise the economics of growth, for example the tensions between economic growth and environmental protection, and what policies and economic tools address and potentially reconcile these tensions. Based on this understanding, the course then introduces different paradigmatic and critical perspectives in economics;
  • recognise and evaluate different approaches that aim to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, ecological footprints and carbon emissions and problematise different claims of decoupling in relation to welfare, equity and environmental degradation;
  • critically address the claims of alternative ideas for transforming the economic system(s) and practices, including ways to reconcile different societal needs with environment (for example post-growth, de-growth, responsible consumption and production).

The course applies a range of practical qualitative and quantitative methods of research in both fieldwork and deskwork, including, but not limited to, observation, questionnaire interviews, cost-benefit analysis, and life cycle analysis.

Literature list

Literature list, established 2023-11-22 PDF (445 kB)


I never thought I'd say this but I very much enjoyed the literature! I have never before been so carried away with my course literature that it keeps me up at 1.30 am.


Student, Batch 23