You Can't Eat GNP: Economics As If Ecology Mattered

You Can't Eat GNP: Economics As If Ecology Mattered

Eric A. Davidson

Language: English

Pages: 247

ISBN: 0738202762

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this lively, concise, and hard-hitting book, Eric Davidson makes available to readers the exciting new ideas of ecological economists, who have been revolutionizing and greening the once "dismal science." Redefining economic concepts to allow for the primacy of our water, air, soil, and forests, he reveals the necessary steps to a genuine, rather than illusory, prosperity.Most estimates of wealth today are based upon gross domestic product, and many economists even see future wealth being created free of the constraints set by natural resources. Eric Davidson, scientist at the famed Woods Hole Research Center, calls such thinking "Marie Antoinette economics" and reveals its grave underlying fallacies. In valuing land or forests, for instance, we tend to discount their future value for our own children; in analyzing costs and benefits, the price of these natural resources upon which we ultimately depend is usually wrong; and damages to these resources are seen as "externalities." Davidson exposes these fallacies and offers a blueprint for a truly sustainable economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

degradation, the degradation to reverse. Still is severe enough to require a lot of more timescales relevant to of the most degraded in the China and over half of soil degradation human soils lives. and Not is soil on some irreversible surprisingly, largest areas affected occur most populous nations of the world —but money — India and degradation has also occurred in both in- and developing nations, both rich and poor naand where both modern and traditional farming

for cention turies, that provided just perhaps thousands of years, but a combination of wars, migrations of peoples and their cultures, population growth, and in some cases, the substitution of the wrong modem technology has irrigation full breakdown of these systems and the development of soils that are so of toxic salts that resulted in the they can no longer be used for agri- culture. The Central Valley of California contains soils that can be used very productively for

generations. We should not expect neoclassical economic theory to tell us how much of our nat- we should leave intact for the use of Our decisions about distributing the wealth we obtain from natural resources among present and future generations are best made according to what we think is right and wrong, not according to the prediction of an econometric model. Once a decision has been made as to how much we want future generations to inural resource wealth future generations. herit,

across the globe, rather than on our own visual and sense at home. Up olfactory^ senses and common to now, the industrialized countries of North America and Europe have caused most of the problem, having used most of the coal and oil that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Before long, however, China could overtake the United States as the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The cut- ting of forests in tropical countries like Brazil, Indonesia,

across the globe, rather than on our own visual and sense at home. Up olfactory^ senses and common to now, the industrialized countries of North America and Europe have caused most of the problem, having used most of the coal and oil that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Before long, however, China could overtake the United States as the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The cut- ting of forests in tropical countries like Brazil, Indonesia,

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