Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene: An Emerging Paradigm

Ecological Economics For The Anthropocene An Emerging Paradigm 2015
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The main drivers of this deterioration have been changes in land and sea use, exploitation of living beings, climate change , pollution and invasive species. These five drivers, in turn, are caused by societal behaviors, from consumption to governance. Damage to ecosystems undermines 35 of 44 selected UN targets, including the UN General Assembly's Sustainable Development Goals for poverty, hunger, health, water, cities' climate, oceans and land.

It can cause problems with food, water and humanity's air supply. To fix the problem, humanity will need a transformative change, including sustainable agriculture , reductions in consumption and waste , fishing quotas and collaborative water management.

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On page 8 of the summary the authors state that one of the main measures is: " enabling visions of a good quality of life that do not entail ever-increasing material consumption; [62] [63]. These mounting concerns have prompted an increasing number of academics and other writers — beside Herman Daly — to point to limits to economic growth , and to question — and even oppose — the prevailing ideology of infinite economic growth. In September , 1 day before the Global Climate Strike on 20 September in the Guardian was published an article that summarizes many research and say that limit consumption is necessary for saving the biosphere [83].

Except the reasons linked to resource depletion and the carrying capacity of the ecological system, there are other reasons to limit consumption - overconsumption hurts the health of those who consume to mutch. For example, the food industry is large sector of consumption and studies show that people waste a fifth of food products just through disposal or overconsumption. Other aspects of losses surrounding dry matter came at each stage in the food system, the highest amount being from livestock production at When the consumer takes in too much, this not only explains losses at the beginning of the stage at production and overproduction but also lends itself to overconsumption of energy and protein, having harmful effects on the body.

In September , 1 day before the Global Climate Strike on 20 September in "The Guardian" was published an article that summarizes many research and say that limit consumption is necessary for the health of big consumers: it can increase empathy improve the contacts with other people, and more [85]. Several conceptual and ideological disagreements presently exist concerning the steady-state economy in particular and the dilemma of growth in general. The following issues are considered below: The role of technology; resource decoupling and the rebound effect; a declining-state economy; the possibility of having capitalism without growth; and the possibility of pushing some of the terrestrial limits into outer space.

In a research, presenting an overview of the attempts to achieve constant economic growth without environmental destruction and their results, was published.

It shows that by the year the attempts were not successful. It does not give a clear answer about future attempts. Technology is usually defined as the application of scientific method in the production of goods or in other social achievements. Historically, technology has mostly been developed and implemented in order to improve labour productivity and increase living standards.

In economics, disagreement presently exists regarding the role of technology when considering its dependency on natural resources:. From the ecological point of view, it has been suggested that the disagreement boils down to a matter of teaching some elementary physics to the uninitiated neoclassical economists and other technological optimists. Resource decoupling occurs when economic activity becomes less intensive ecologically: A declining input of natural resources is needed to produce one unit of output on average, measured by the ratio of total natural resource consumption to gross domestic product GDP.

Relative resource decoupling occurs when natural resource consumption declines on a ceteris paribus assumption — that is, all other things being equal. Absolute resource decoupling occurs when natural resource consumption declines, even while GDP is growing. In the history of economic thought , William Stanley Jevons was the first economist of some standing to analyse the occurrence of resource decoupling, although he did not use this term. In his book on The Coal Question , Jevons argued that an increase in energy efficiency would by itself lead to more , not less, consumption of energy: Due to the income effect of the lowered energy expenditures, people would be rendered better off and demand even more energy, thereby outweighing the initial gain in efficiency.

This mechanism is known today as the Jevons paradox or the rebound effect. Jevons's analysis of this seeming paradox formed part of his general concern that Britain's industrial supremacy in the 19th century would soon be set back by the inevitable exhaustion of the country's coal mines, whereupon the geopolitical balance of power would tip in favour of countries abroad possessing more abundant mines.

Herman Daly has argued that the best way to increase natural resource efficiency decouple and to prevent the occurrence of any rebound effects is to impose quantitative restrictions on resource use by establishing a cap and trade system of quotas , managed by a government agency. Daly believes this system features a unique triple advantage: [10] : 61— For all its merits, Daly himself points to the existence of physical, technological and practical limitations to how much efficiency and recycling can be achieved by this proposed system.

A declining-state economy is an economy made up of a declining stock of physical wealth capital or a declining population size, or both. A declining-state economy is not to be confused with a recession : Whereas a declining-state economy is established as the result of deliberate political action, a recession is the unexpected and unwelcome failure of a growing or a steady economy. Proponents of a declining-state economy generally believe that a steady-state economy is not far-reaching enough for the future of mankind.

Some proponents may even reject modern civilization as such, either partly or completely, whereby the concept of a declining-state economy begins bordering on the ideology of anarcho-primitivism , on radical ecological doomsaying or on some variants of survivalism.

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Romanian American economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen was the teacher and mentor of Herman Daly and is presently considered the main intellectual figure influencing the degrowth movement that formed in France and Italy in the early s. In his paradigmatic magnum opus on The Entropy Law and the Economic Process , Georgescu-Roegen argues that the carrying capacity of earth — that is, earth's capacity to sustain human populations and consumption levels — is bound to decrease sometime in the future as earth's finite stock of mineral resources is presently being extracted and put to use ; and consequently, that the world economy as a whole is heading towards an inevitable future collapse.

American political advisor Jeremy Rifkin , French champion of the degrowth movement Serge Latouche and Austrian degrowth theorist Christian Kerschner — who all take their cue from Georgescu-Roegen's work — have argued in favour of declining-state strategies. Consider each in turn:. Herman Daly on his part is not opposed to the concept of a declining-state economy; but he does point out that the steady-state economy should serve as a preliminary first step on a declining path, once the optimal levels of population and capital have been properly defined.

However, this first step is an important one:.

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Daly concedes that it is 'difficult, probably impossible' to define such optimum levels; [10] : 52 even more, in his final analysis Daly agrees with his teacher and mentor Georgescu-Roegen that no defined optimum will be able to last forever see above. Several radical critics of capitalism have questioned the possibility of ever imposing a steady-state or a declining-state degrowth system as a superstructure on top of capitalism.

Fully aware of the massive growth dynamics of capitalism, Herman Daly on his part poses the rhetorical question whether his concept of a steady-state economy is essentially capitalistic or socialistic.

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Henderson, Hazel. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Ehlers, Eckart, Thomas Krafft, and C. Lawn Call Number: eBook. Great Barrington: Berkshire Publishing Group. The result is moral and conceptual chaos that eviscerates public discourse and blocks the development of the collective responses needed to avert catastrophe. In Ricardo's times, Britain's trade with the European continent was somewhat disrupted during the Napoleonic Wars that had raged since

He provides the following answer written in :. Daly concludes by inviting all most people — both liberal supporters of and radical critics of capitalism — to join him in his effort to develop a steady-state economy. Ever since the beginning of the modern Space Age in the s, space advocates have developed plans for colonising space in order to counter human overpopulation and mitigate ecological pressures on earth if not for other reasons. In the s, physicist and space activist Gerard K.

O'Neill developed a large plan to build human settlements in outer space to solve the problems of overpopulation and limits to growth on earth without recourse to political repression. According to O'Neill's vision, mankind could — and indeed should — expand on this man-made frontier to many times the current world population and generate large amounts of new wealth in space.

Herman Daly countered O'Neill's vision by arguing that a space colony would become subject to much harsher limits to growth — and hence, would have to be secured and managed with much more care and discipline — than a steady-state economy on large and resilient earth. Although the number of individual colonies supposedly could be increased without end, living conditions in any one particular colony would become very restricted nonetheless.

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Therefore, Daly concluded: "The alleged impossibility of a steady-state on earth provides a poor intellectual launching pad for space colonies. By the s, O'Neill's old vision of space colonisation has long since been turned upside down in many places: Instead of dispatching colonists from earth to live in remote space settlements, some ecology-minded space advocates conjecture that resources could be mined from asteroids in space and transported back to earth for use here. This new vision has the same double advantage of partly mitigating ecological pressures on earth's limited mineral reserves while also boosting exploration and colonisation of space.

The building up of industrial infrastructure in space would be required for the purpose, as well as the establishment of a complete supply chain up to the level of self-sufficiency and then beyond, eventually developing into a permanent extraterrestrial source of wealth to provide an adequate return on investment for stakeholders.

In the future, such an 'exo-economy' off-planet economy could possibly even serve as the first step towards mankind's cosmic ascension to a 'Type II' civilisation on the hypothetical Kardashev scale , in case such an ascension will ever be accomplished. However, it is yet uncertain whether an off-planet economy of the type specified will develop in due time to match both the volume and the output mix needed to fully replace earth's dwindling mineral reserves.

Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene

Sceptics like Herman Daly and others point to exorbitant earth-to-orbit launch costs of any space mission, inaccurate identification of target asteroids suitable for mining, and remote in situ ore extraction difficulties as obvious barriers to success: Investing a lot of terrestrial resources in order to recover only a few resources from space in return is not worthwhile in any case, regardless of the scarcities, technologies and other mission parameters involved in the venture. In addition, even if an off-planet economy could somehow be established at some future point, one long-term predicament would then loom large regarding the continuous mining and transportation of massive volumes of materials from space back to earth: How to keep up that volume flowing on a steady and permanent basis in the face of the astronomically long distances and time scales ever present in space.

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Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene. An Emerging Paradigm. Edited by Peter G. Brown and Peter Timmerman. Columbia University Press. Ecological. Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene: An Emerging Paradigm provides an urgently needed alternative to the long-dominant neoclassical economic.

In the worst of cases, all of these obstacles could forever prevent any substantial pushing of limits into outer space — and then limits to growth on earth will remain the only limits of concern throughout mankind's entire span of existence. To implement steady state economy in the real world global peace will probably be needed, because economic growth is one of the main factors that determines the military capability.

Without global peace and international cooperation country that will limit its economic growth achieve lower military capability, then a country that will not do it.

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The result may be a conquest of the first country by the second. In such conditions there is very low probability that a steady state economy can exist. Today, steady state economy is not implemented officially by any state, but there are some measures that limit growth and means a steady level of consumption of some products per capita, for example Phase-out of lightweight plastic bags that reduce consumption of bags and limit the number of bags per capita.

Ecuador and Bolivia included in their constitutions the ideology of Sumac Kawsay Buen Vivir that "incorporates ideas of de-growth ", e. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Economic stagnation. For other uses, see Steady state disambiguation. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article or section possibly contains synthesis of material which does not verifiably mention or relate to the main topic. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.