© 2019

Economics of a Crowded Planet


  • Provides a new conceptual framework to understand the relationship between human economy and nature

  • Combines ecological economics and complex systems theory

  • Shows how elements of mainstream economics can be integrated into a generative economics of the future


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Fraser Murison Smith
    Pages 1-18
  3. Coevolution of the Economy and Nature

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 53-89
    3. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 91-125
    4. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 127-152
  4. Where Is Economics Now?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 155-190
    3. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 191-230
    4. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 231-272
  5. Where Does Economics Need to Be?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 273-274
    2. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 275-313
    3. Fraser Murison Smith
      Pages 315-354
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 355-428

About this book


This book asks the question, how would economics look today and into the future if one started with a blank sheet of paper? Written mainly for a technical audience, yet accessible to the lay reader, Economics of a Crowded Planet addresses the ontology, epistemology and methodology of a future economics as if from outside the economy looking in. It presents a conceptual framework for a future economics drawing from systems science and hierarchy theory, integrating central concepts from present-day economics, so as to orient the field in a direction that can serve society’s future needs in practical ways. 

The exposition reveals a paradigm called ‘market collectivism: the idea that the power of markets may be used to steer the economy toward a desired long-term goal.  Both a prescriptive doctrine and an economic methodology, it treats the economy and nature as instances of complex, evolutionary systems, demanding analytical tools quite unlike those of the 20th-century mainstream.


ecological economics environmental economics market collectivism climate change SDG sustainable development goals heterodox economics resource economics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.San RafaelUSA

About the authors

Fraser Murison Smith is an energy specialist in public utilities, formerly an information systems consultant and award-winning cleantech entrepreneur. After completing a PhD in theoretical ecology at Oxford University, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University in ecological economics. He has published papers on fisheries, biodiversity and economic development, as well as a book, Environmental Sustainability: Practical Global Implications (1997). Fraser and his wife, a healthcare technology leader, share their home in Northern California with two wonderful young children and a canoe and tent on standby for spontaneous forays into the surrounding mountains, rivers and lakes.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking