In this article I argue that notions such as ecosystem services and strong sustainability can be best understood and developed within the theoretical framework advanced by the classical political economists, in which a circular conception of the economy is provided. I also argue that the development of notions such as ecosystem services and strong sustainability has been constrained by the dominance of neoclassical economics, which provides a linear conception of the economy and leads to an emphasis on weak sustainability, which in turn springs from an emphasis on substitutability and aggregate capital. When assessing the relevance of classical political economy for studying ecosystem services and strong sustainability I consider not only the contributions of the classical political economists, but also more recent contributions which draw upon the classical perspective, such as Piero Sraffa's and Amartya Sen's.
- Classical political economy
- Strong sustainability