Abstract: This paper explores new ways of applying ecological knowledge to solve economic problems in a manner that suits the complexity of society and environmental challenges. This is done by developing the integrative analysis method. The integrative analysis uses systems ecology in order to characterize economic systems with their energetic properties and model them as ecosystems. This makes it possible to assess them with the design principles of permaculture, a resourceful discipline of ecological engineering. Through a process that adopts the main characteristics of the "Soft Systems Methodology" incremental changes can be found to make economies increasingly resemble the natural functioning of healthy and stable ecosystems. This way the integrative analysis makes it possible to enhance economic strategies with integrated solutions for a widened problem scope. As a consequence, single problem interventions also address the far-reaching environmental and social challenges of declining resource and energy supply.