Jason Potts, John Foster, Anna Straton, School of Economics Discussion Paper No. 409, June 2010, School of Economics, The University of Queensland. Australia.

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A basic tenet of ecological economics is that economic growth and development are ultimately constrained by environmental carrying capacities. It is from this basis that notions of a sustainable economy and of sustainable economic development emerge to undergird the ‘standard model’ of ecological economics. However, the belief in ‘hard’ environmental constraints may be obscuring the important role of the entrepreneur in the coevolution of economic and environmental relations, and hence limiting or distorting the analytic focus of ecological economics and the range of policy options that are considered for sustainable economic development. This paper outlines a co-evolutionary model of the dynamics of economic and ecological systems as connected by entrepreneurial behaviour. We then discuss some of the key analytic and policy implications.