Are there limits to economic growth?
This is a final version submitted for publication. Minor editorial changes may have subsequently been made. Sharon Beder's Other Publications SHARON BEDER argues that the market cannot resolve environmental problems and that there is a need to find a solution that embraces the ethical dimension of environmental protection in the sustainable development debate.
In the late s and early s, a powerful social movement emerged in affluent countries arguing that economic growth caused environmental decline and could not be sustained forever. One of the most famous of the thousands of studies written on this issue was the book, The Limits to Growth, published in by Meadows and a team of scientists, environmentalists, economists and industrialists at the USA's Massachusett's Institute of Technology.
It used a computer model of the world economy to show that the existing population and economic activity growth rates could not continue indefinitely on a planet that had limited resources and limited ability to deal with pollution. But critics argued that even if notional limits were identifiable they could be extended through scientific and technological innovation and that economic growth was necessary to finance and motivate such innovation.
The focus of early limits to growth writings on the depletion of resources such as oil and minerals, left them particularly open to this criticism and the lack of global shortages in subsequent years served more than anything else to discredit their arguments.
However, the limits to growth advocates also neglected to consider the social implications of no-growth policies and the social imperatives behind economic growth. Economic growth provided increasing living standards for many people in affluent countries and it was seen to be necessary to provide similar benefits for the remaining poor in those countries and for the populations of developing nations.
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.
Many did not differentiate between economic growth in affluent countries and economic growth in developing countries. Nor did they recognise that population growth in affluent countries could be far more environmentally damaging than population growth in poorer countries where resource use per person was low.
Sustainable development seeks to make the competing goals of economic growth and environmental protection compatible.
And does it represent an eclipse of the ethical and political dimensions of environmental problems by economic interests and priorities? Sustainability in the s: The renewed interest in sustainability in the s moved away from the original conception that economic growth cannot be sustainable to a new formulation which seeks to find ways of making it so.
Earlier environmentalists had used the term to refer to systems in equilibrium: They argued that exponential growth was not sustainable, in the sense that it could not be continued forever because the planet was finite and there were limits to growth.
In contrast, sustainable development seeks ways to make economic growth sustainable, mainly through technological change.
Inthe British Government began using the term 'sustainability' to refer to sustainable economic expansion rather than the sustainable use of resources. In the mids the World Commission on Environment and Development popularised the term 'sustainable development' in its Brundtland Report The Commission defined sustainable development as: Sustainable development recognises that economic growth can harm the environment but argues that it does not need to.
This new formulation of the term 'sustainability' still offends more radical environmentalists, such as Mohamed Idris: The term 'sustainable' from the ecological point of view means the maintenance of the integrity of the ecology.
It means a harmonious relation between humanity and nature, that is, harmony in the interaction between individual human beings and in their interaction with natural resources. The Supposed Ethics of Economic Growth One of the most pressing arguments for continued economic growth, is that it is necessary to meet the needs of poor people.
Jim MacNeill, the secretary-general to the Brundtland Commission, argues that: The most urgent imperative of the next few decades is further rapid growth. 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.
If such poverty is not reduced significantly and soon, there really is no way to stop the accelerating decline in the planet's stocks of basic capital:Environmental regulations have transformed California's economy but it's not always clear if the result was positive.
Free Essays on Economic Growth And Environmental Conservation. Get help with your writing.
1 through 30 FACTORS AFFECTING ECONOMIC GROWTH situation, and of conserving and extending the Words; WHY WE NEED A NEW ETHIC FOR THE ENVIRONMENT We are enveloped and immersed in a world comprised of air, earth, waters, plants.
Economic Growth Essay. Describe the influence of two contrasting economic environments on business activities within a selected organisation (P5) Economic growth Economic growth is a long-term expansion of a country’s productive potential, growth is the way the country’s economy increases over a course of time.
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Discovery full episodes on energy conservation of good economic planning economics. Sep 13, · Home Essays Environment's Effect on Environment's Effect on Growth of Bread Molds “Discuss the Causes and Effects of Economic Growth” Economic Growth is where goods and services maximise in value over a period of time.
This is measured by Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is defined as “The . Growth and the Environment: The Sustainability of Economic Growth Growth may lead to a rapid destruction of rain forests, the over-exploitation of fish stocks and loss of natural habitat created through the construction of new roads, hotels, retail malls and industrial estates.