home philosophy recent projects CV summary papers

Approach and Philosophy

My approach is to provide high-quality, evidence-based, innovative advice and analysis which assists my clients to work through the practical problems they face. I aim to provide a sound understanding of the 'bigger picture' within which particular issues arise, especially issues of public policy. My comparative advantages are:

· Understanding of economics
· Understanding of sustainable development issues and their linkages
· Familiarity with international developments
· Good networks.

My philosophy is based on an 'ecological economics' view of the world. I see sustainable development as a useful concept embracing the pursuit of greater well-being in a holistic sense, over an intergenerational time-frame. Well-being, in my view, requires the integration of environmental, social, cultural and economic dimensions. I also believe it is important to understand the limits on the extent to which 'natural capital' can be replaced by other forms of capital - we can't replace ecosystems, for example, with human creations. And, while prosperity is important for many, I see difficulties arising from a pre-occupation with economic growth and a view of the world in which the economy is seen as central. As Lao Tzu said, “To know when you have enough is to be rich.” (*) In my view it's important to see the economy as embedded within society, and both as embedded within the environment.

Ralph Chapman