An analysis of personal economic sacrifice to better our environment

Environmental sustainability economics

The usefulness of economic theory can be pushed too far. Those who argued for limits to growth were accused of being elitist and of emphasising the environment at the expense of the quality of human life. The links between the economy and the environment are manifold: the environment provides resources to the economy, and acts as a sink for emissions and waste. These direct monetary costs tend to underestimate the full costs and benefits provided by the environment. Direct costs and benefits are the easiest to estimate. Environmental protection moves to a secondary and indeed supplementary position with respect to economic goals. They say: 'Economic growth can be made compatible with environmental enhancement only if the emission of pollution is less than that which can be assimilated and transformed by the natural environment. And does it represent an eclipse of the ethical and political dimensions of environmental problems by economic interests and priorities? It could be quite easily demonstrated that these affluent nations already have economies large enough to maintain all their citizens in comfort and have been able to do so for 20 years or more.

Pricing mechanisms and markets tend to ignore distributional issues such as who gets the benefits and who bears the costs. Most nations are dependent on loans from international banking institutions and need to export increasing amounts of goods in order to pay the interest on their loans.

Economy and environment

For most governments this means incorporating the environment into the economic system. This cannot be done if decision-making is based on the premise that any development that provides a net monetary benefit to a nation should be approved. Many did not differentiate between economic growth in affluent countries and economic growth in developing countries. Thampapillai says in his text on Environmental Economics; Clearly, the natural environment is an important component of the economic system, and without the natural environment the economic system would not be able to function. A fivefold to tenfold increase in economic activity would be required over the next 50 years in order to meet the needs and aspirations of a burgeoning world population, as well as to begin to reduce mass poverty. The usefulness of economic theory can be pushed too far. Mohamed , 'Going green--a third world perspective', Chain Reaction, no. There is an exacerbating tendency in our society for poor people to be the ones that suffer the costs of hazardous, dirty or unwelcome developments. In the mids the World Commission on Environment and Development popularised the term 'sustainable development' in its Brundtland Report They quote a researcher who argues that 'respondents believe that environmental policy - for example, the degree of pollution permitted in national parks - involves ethical, cultural, and aesthetic questions over which society must deliberate on the merits, and that this has nothing to do with pricing the satisfaction of preferences at the margin' p. The limits to growth advocates of the s and 70s tended to avoid the social implications of aborting economic growth in low-income countries and the issue of which nations were responsible for most resource use.

Ehrenfeld, David'Why put a value on biodiversity? Commonwealth Government,p. Attempts to assign dollar values to segments of the environment are ways of reaffirming the market as the primary social decision-making mechanism - a mechanism that relies on individual self-interest to achieve maximum social welfare.

While there needs to be growth in some areas such as solar technology and in some nations, two key questions need to be asked Trainer, : Which specific things need developing?

economic growth impact on the environment

Many did not differentiate between economic growth in affluent countries and economic growth in developing countries.

Idris, S. It is apparent there is a need to go beyond these two failed approaches and find a third one which embraces the ethical dimension.

environmental management and economic development

This will involve getting beyond the current preoccupation of governments with economic growth as the overriding priority for all nations at all times.

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Economy vs environment