Ecotechnological Productivity: The Emergence of a Concept, its Implications and Applications for Sustainable Development

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Enrique Leff


Environmental crisis has imposed the need to revise the role of nature in economics. A new approach to the relations between nature and society has emerged, imposing on the economic system the need to internalize ecological and cultural conditions for an equitable, diverse and sustainable development. Economic rationality has impinged on the self-organizing mechanisms of biological and ecological systems that support the production and the conditions for regeneration of natural resources. Market mechanisms do not value either the long-term synergy of socio-environmental processes that support ecological balances and natural productivity, nor social equity and cultural diversity. This rationality can be neither subsumed in biological laws nor incorporate the specificity of social rights, interests and institutions that define the conditions for the participatory and democratic management of natural resources.

I will analyze in this paper the limitations of the concept of entropy and an energetic approach to construct a new economics on physical basis and to address complex socio-environmental issues such as the social appropriation of nature and the equitable and sustainable management of natural resources. I will then argue for an alternative productive paradigm built upon the concept of ecotechnological productivity that integrates ecological, technological and cultural levels of productivity to maximize the sustainable production of socially defined wealth, by enhancing the capacities of the planet to produce natural use values through the negentropic production of biomass from the process of photosynthesis and design a technological system to minimize the entropic transformation processes. This productive rationality emerges from principles of cultural diversity, democracy, basic needs, ecological balance and quality of life, offering new perspectives for a sustainable development.

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Leff, E. (2019). Ecotechnological Productivity: The Emergence of a Concept, its Implications and Applications for Sustainable Development. BIOECONOMICS REVIEW, 2(1). Retrieved from