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Greening of CapitalismHow Asia Is Driving the Next Great Transformation$
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John A. Mathews

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791502

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791502.001.0001

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From the Linear to the Circular Economy

From the Linear to the Circular Economy

(p.114) 5 From the Linear to the Circular Economy
Greening of Capitalism

John A. Mathews

Stanford University Press

Chapter Five discusses the complementary shift that is under way from the linear economy, with its wasteful resource practices, to a Circular Economy where everything is recycled. The prevailing model is based on a linear process starting at one end capturing natural materials and, at the other, dumping the wastes again in the sink called “nature”. But we know that the biosphere works according to great cycles or recirculation of materials, where wastes from one process become nutrients for another. The capitalist version of this involves eco-linkages, where one firm’s waste products become another's inputs, and entrepreneurial activity is focused on discovering and implementing such eco-initiatives. The Chinese call this a “Circular Economy” and it is already embodied in the country’s current12th Five Year Plan. The circular economy provides a template for the green economy – and the default option for the resource system of a global green capitalism.

Keywords:   Linear economy, circular economy, cradle-to-cradle, resource efficiency, greening of commodity markets, traceability of commodities

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