[Paleopsych] spiked: The dismal quackery of eco-economics

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The dismal quackery of eco-economics

     The dismal quackery of eco-economics

     The notion that economic growth has to be curtailed is tragic when
     billions still live in dire poverty.
     by Daniel Ben-Ami

     The World Wildlife Fund warns that we are consuming 20 per cent more
     natural resources a year than the planet can provide. Are we living
     beyond our ecological means?
     One of the most striking but least noticed aspects of the rise of
     environmentalism is the way that it has helped to redefine economics.
     Economic production and consumption are viewed in a fundamentally
     different way than they were before environmentalism became central to
     the dominant worldview.
     Environmentalist assumptions that, at the very least, should be the
     subject of debate are unquestioningly accepted. Environmentalism has
     become central to the mainstream outlook, rather than the particular
     property of green parties or organisations.
     This development isn't just important at the level of ideas. A gloomy
     view of economic development plays an important role in holding back
     human potential. At its starkest, the acceptance of the idea that
     economic growth has to be curtailed is a tragedy in a world where
     billions of people still live in dire poverty. According to the latest
     available figures from the World Bank, 2.7 billion were living on less
     than $2 (£1.10) a day in 2001 of which 1.1 billion lived on less than
     a dollar (1).
     The discussion of global warming provides a striking example of how
     this works. Almost everyone accepts that climate change means that the
     world needs to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases. Yet this
     would almost certainly mean holding back economic growth, meaning that
     a large part of the global population will remain poor. There is
     hardly any discussion of how to deal with global warming while
     generating substantial economic growth at the same time. Indeed it
     will be argued that economic growth, far from being the problem, is
     central to humanity's capacity to handle climate change.
     There are two recurring themes running through the environmentalist
     approach to economics. First, an obsession with the need for limits.
     The environmentalist debate, in numerous different ways, assumes that
     strict limits must be put on economic activity. Such premises ignore
     or at least downplay the power of human creativity. Economic activity
     does indeed often throw up problems - such as pollution - but it also,
     it will be argued, provides the means to overcome them.
     Second, the idea of precaution has more recently become more central
     to the debate. The prevalent assumption is that people need to be
     cautious about economic development because it could have harmful
     unintended consequences in the future. Often such fears are expressed
     in the language of 'sustainability'. The precautionary approach,
     unlike earlier forms of environmentalism, acknowledges the power of
     human creativity. But advocates of precaution tend to see such
     creativity as a source of problems, usually in the form of risk,
     rather than a positive attribute of human beings.
     Underlying both assumptions is a misanthropic view of humanity (2).
     Environmentalism can be seen as a counterattack against a key premise
     of the Enlightenment: that a central part of progress consists of
     increasing human control over nature. Instead, environmentalists argue
     that humans should accept their place as a mere subsidiary of the
     natural world (3). In practice this means reconciling humanity to
     poverty, disease and natural disasters.
     There is environmentalist confusion between the mastery over nature
     and the destruction of nature. Control over nature means reshaping the
     natural world to meet human needs - for example, developing medicines
     to fight against disease or building dams to prevent flooding or
     generate electricity. This is not the same as destroying rain forests
     or making animal species extinct.
     Nature has sometimes been destroyed as a side-effect of economic
     growth. But the aim of economic development is to benefit humanity
     rather than to destroy the natural world. It is important to remember
     that richer societies are in a much stronger position to create a
     positive environment for human beings than poor ones.
     The remainder of this essay will examine the key tenets of
     environmentalist economics in more detail. It will argue that, in
     addition to being undesirable, the environmentalist worldview is based
     on fatally flawed assumptions.
     Natural limits to growth?
     A large part of environmentalist discourse is about the biophysical,
     social and ethical limits that are supposedly a brake on economic
     activity (4). Some of the limits they raise are metaphors while others
     are meant literally. If only they put such creativity into pondering
     how to generate growth rather than restrain it, the world would be
     better off.
     Reverend Robert Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) is in many ways the
     intellectual godfather of environmentalism. It's striking that the
     ideas of a long-dead English country parson have now come back in
     radical clothes. In his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798),
     Malthus famously argued that the world was doomed to mass starvation
     since population inevitably grew far more rapidly than food supply. In
     mathematical terms, he argued, the population grew geometrically while
     agricultural production grew arithmetically. Malthus' views led Thomas
     Carlyle, a nineteenth century historian and philosopher, to dub
     economics 'the dismal science'.
     Fortunately Malthus' predictions proved entirely wrong. Food
     production has easily outstripped population growth. Starvation is
     mercifully the exception rather than the rule - when it still exists,
     it is the result of social inequality rather than an absolute failure
     to produce food. The solution to this is more extensive economic
     growth, to help the poorest parts of the world to reach the living
     standards of the richest.
     It is only in recent decades that Malthus' concerns about natural
     limits have had such a broad resonance. Until relatively recently, the
     benefits of industrialisation were widely appreciated, and the
     prospect of economic growth prompted more hope than anxiety.
     But in the 1960s a new breed of intellectuals started to emerge who
     were influenced by Malthusianism - some explicitly supported Malthus
     while others were more generally influenced by his approach. Often
     they argued that Malthus was right in principle but he had got his
     timing wrong, or that his approach needed to be made more
     sophisticated (5). What they shared was an emphasis on the importance
     of limits on economic activity (6).
     By the mid-1970s their view was getting widespread popular support.
     Strongly Malthusian texts such as the Club of Rome's The Limits to
     Growth (1972) and EF Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973) were both
     worldwide bestsellers (7). As Schumacher noted at the time: 'We do
     well to ask why it is that all these terms - pollution, environment,
     ecology, etc - have so suddenly come into prominence. After all, we
     have had an industrial system for quite some time, yet only five or
     ten years ago these words were virtually unknown.' (original emphasis)
     A combination of factors help to explain the popularisation of
     environmentalist thought. The world economy experienced severe
     problems as the long boom that followed the Second World War came to
     an end. The Arab oil boycott that followed the 1973 Arab-Israeli war
     also focused attention on the vulnerability of natural resources. More
     generally, a mood of social pessimism began to take hold over Western
     societies. Environmentalists began to argue that society needed to
     curb economic growth (9).
     Kenneth Boulding, one of the most prominent American economists of the
     mid-twentieth century, used the metaphor 'spaceship earth' to express
     the need for limits (10) Writing in the mid-1960s, it is not
     surprising that he should choose a space metaphor. But rather than
     referring to the unlimited frontier popularised in fiction such as
     Star Trek, he meant to convey an earth running short of resources.
     This was in contrast to the 'cowboy economy' of an earlier era when,
     according to Boulding, there was no problem of scarcity.
     Another expression of scarcity was the 'tragedy of the commons' that
     was popularised by Garrett Hardin, a prominent biologist (11). Hardin
     acknowledged his intellectual debt to William Forster Lloyd
     (1794-1852), an obscure British economist who originated the idea in a
     pamphlet in 1833. Lloyd began with the idea of a common pasture on
     which villagers could graze their cattle. At first there was no
     problem, since the land area was ample to support a relatively small
     number of cattle. But as the number of cattle grew larger it became
     impossible for the land to support them all. Hardin used this metaphor
     to illustrate the broader need for limits on economic growth, and this
     idea has become widely accepted by environmentalists (12).
     Others expressed the idea of limits more literally. The Limits To
     Growth report of 1972 estimated that the world's gold would run out in
     nine years, mercury in 13, natural gas in 22, petroleum in 20, silver
     13 and zinc 18 years (13). With the benefit of hindsight it is clear
     that all its forecasts were hopelessly wrong. But the supporters of
     the report still claimed that the general approach was right, even if
     specific predictions were incorrect (14).
     Other environmentalist predictions have been disproved. Paul Ehrlich,
     still a highly respected environmentalist and biology professor at
     Stanford University, predicted in The Population Bomb in 1968 that:
     'The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s
     hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any
     crash programs embarked upon now.' (15)
     Other environmentalist figures have wisely avoided specific
     predictions. One popular approach was to argue that economic growth is
     limited by the amount of energy in the world. The idea was developed
     by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, an American economist of Romanian
     origin, in the 1970s and has more recently been taken up by the likes
     of Elmar Altvater, Herman Daly and Jeremy Rifkin (16). This idea was
     expressed in scientific terms as a consequence of the second law of
     thermodynamics, which states that the useful forms of energy in any
     closed system decline over time. An alternative way of expressing the
     same idea is that the entropy (disorder) in a closed system increases
     over time (17). But as previous articles on spiked have argued,
     environmentalists grossly underestimate the amount of energy available
     on earth (18). In any case, the earth is not a closed system - it
     receives an enormous amount of energy from the sun every day (19). So
     the idea that the availability of energy limits economic activity has
     no basis in science.
     The concept of 'natural capital' is another way of arguing that there
     are scarce resources (20). Advocates of this approach argue that
     natural resources should be seen as a form of 'capital', by which they
     mean wealth, rather than as in traditional economics, a way of
     generating income. For instance, conventional economists assume that
     iron ore is essentially provided free by nature, and should therefore
     be valued according to the revenue it generates each year to the
     mining company. Environmentalists counter that it is not free because
     it involves a drain on the environment - and that the amount of iron
     ore used up each year should be deducted from the wealth of the
     country in which it is produced.
     But this approach produces some perverse results. From the perspective
     of 'natural capital', a pristine country, in which hardly anyone
     lived, would be wealthy. But one that was highly developed and
     industrialised would have suffered a severe loss of natural capital
     (21). By these counts, Antarctica could well be richer than America.
     As it happens, neither approach is adequate. The value of a natural
     resource cannot be assessed independently of the human labour used to
     retrieve it. For instance, bauxite or uranium have no value in a
     primitive society where they cannot be utilised, but in an economy
     that produces aluminium or harnesses atomic power they become valuable
     Another way of expressing limits is by developing measures such as
     'carrying capacity'. This is defined in A Dictionary of Biology as:
     'The maximum population of a particular species that can be supported
     indefinitely by a given habitat or area without damage to the
     environment.' (22) But this is a tautology. For example, the carrying
     capacity of the earth in relation to humans is its productive capacity
     divided by one person's basic needs. But the productive capacity of
     the earth has grown enormously as the world has become more efficient
     economically. So 'carrying capacity' is not a fixed quantity but at
     most a statement of a particular ratio at a particular time (23).
     The assumption that there is a looming oil shortage illustrates this
     point. It is mathematically true that if there is a finite supply of
     oil and a growing economy, sooner or later supplies will run out. But
     this ignores the ways that we can tackle such problems. In the short
     term, this can include the discovery of new oil fields or harnessing
     existing ones more efficiently. In the medium term, new ways of
     utilising oil, such as harnessing the vast reserves found in tar sand,
     are likely to be discovered. Longer term, new forms of energy are
     likely to be utilised that may not have even been thought of yet.
     As Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi oil minister in the 1970s, has argued:
     'The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end
     long before the world runs out of oil.' (24) There is likely to be
     more than enough oil to meet humanity's needs over the next few years,
     and long before it runs out new forms of energy generation are likely
     to be discovered and existing ones utilised far more efficiently.
     Underlying environmentalist confusion on limited resources is a deeply
     pessimistic view of human ingenuity. Environmentalists tend to project
     the current level of human know-how and skills in the future. Yet
     historically humans have proved adept at developing their capabilities
     over time.
     From an environmentalist perspective, human beings are merely vast
     consumers of scarce resources. What this view overlooks is humans'
     immense capabilities as producers. Humans are capable of using reason
     and ingenuity to overcome formidable barriers - which is why what seem
     like insurmountable limits to the environmentalists are almost always
     Precaution and sustainability
     The other central concept of contemporary environmentalism is
     precaution. The key idea is that modern technological societies bring
     the risk of severe unintended consequences in the future. In the past,
     natural risks were the most important, but today 'manufactured risks'
     predominate. The argument is that a particular technology may appear
     safe, but currently unknown problems may become apparent at some point
     in the future. Sociologists such as Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens -
     a key influence over New Labour - have developed the idea of 'risk
     society' (25).
     But it isn't possible to make a clear distinction between natural and
     manufactured risks. For instance, a hurricane may be seen as a pure
     'natural disaster', but the impact it has on humanity depends on the
     level of human development. Florida, in the prosperous USA, is in a
     far better position to deal with an extreme weather event than, say,
     Haiti or Jamaica. Americans can afford to build better quality
     buildings and defences against hurricanes than their poorer
     The concept of the 'precautionary principle' is the way that the ideas
     of risk society have become embodied in law. For instance, it is
     central to the working of the European Union (EU) and its member
     states. As a result, scientists are expected to show beyond reasonable
     doubt that their discoveries will not be dangerous in the future (26).
     This principle puts an impossible burden of proof on scientists. It is
     not possible to have that degree of certainty about the future
     implications of any scientific development. As a result, it imposes a
     cautious approach on science that holds back advance.
     The precautionary principle is applied to economics in terms of the
     idea of 'sustainability' (27). This emphasises the danger that
     economic development could pose to future generations - and advocates
     a cautious approach towards economic development.
     This idea embodies low expectations about economic development. To
     understand this point, it is worth examining the definition of
     'sustainable development' in the United Nation's 1987 Brundtland
     Report. According to the report:
     'Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the
     present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
     their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
     ' -- the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the
     world's poor, to which the overriding priority should be given; and;
     ' -- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and
     social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and
     future needs.' (28)
     Several elements of this definition are worth examining. First, its
     emphasis on 'future generations', which expresses a fear and
     uncertainty about what lies ahead. It also assumes there must be a
     trade-off between meeting present and future needs. The idea that
     development today aids future societies is ruled out.
     Yet in reality, restricting growth today means leaving future
     generations with many of the same problems that we suffer from. In
     contrast, more economic growth puts them in a far better position to
     enjoy a better future. More growth means - among other things - less
     poverty, less disease and more time away from the drudgery of routine
     In addition, the concept of 'needs' is drawn narrowly. So although the
     definition does refer to development, its primary goal is to meet the
     essential needs of the world's poor. Presumably the non-essential
     needs of the poor or the essential needs of the wealthy are not on the
     Global warming
     The discussion of how to respond to global warming embodies both the
     idea of limits and of precaution. Most of the debate assumes that it
     is necessary to hold back on economic growth because of the negative
     implications it could have for the future of the planet.
     It should be emphasised that what is being referred to here is the
     economic response to global warming. The science of climate change is
     an immensely complicated topic that is best left to scientists who
     specialise in the area. Indeed, part of the problem with discussion of
     the topic is that non-scientists are often too willing to pontificate
     about matters of climatology.
     It is wrong to assume that the appropriate economic response to the
     problem is necessarily to hold back on development (29). If, as the
     scientists argue, global warming is happening and that human activity
     is at least partly responsible, it does not automatically follow that
     restricting greenhouse gas emissions is the best way to respond.
     At the very least, the dangers of greenhouse emissions have to be set
     against the problem of restricting economic growth. Since widespread
     industrialisation is likely to mean more emissions overall - even if
     industry becomes more environmentally efficient - curbs on greenhouse
     gases necessarily involve restraining economic growth. The approach
     embodied in the Kyoto protocol is likely to mean consigning billions
     of people to poverty (30), as well as restricting the extent to which
     living standards in the developed world can be improved.
     It is wrong to see dealing with climate change and alleviating poverty
     as a trade-off. Richer, more developed societies are in a better
     position to deal with the impact of climate change. For instance, a
     low-lying country like Bangladesh would be in a far better position to
     deal with rising sea levels if it could afford to build up its flood
     It has been argued on spiked that in the longer term it is likely that
     more high-technology ways will be found to control the climate - for
     example, it may be possible to divert a portion of the sun's rays away
     from the earth (31). Rather than holding back, the answer is likely to
     lie in bold imaginative solutions to the problem. Yet the current
     climate of restraint militates against exploring such alternatives.
     Indeed even existing forms of energy generation that don't emit
     greenhouse gases, such as hydroelectric and atomic power, are often
     rejected by environmentalists.
     Against progress
     Underlying environmentalist economics is a profound hostility towards
     progress. Human advance is seen as inextricably linked to social
     inequality and war, and scientific experimentation is viewed with
     Environmentalist ideas are a direct attack on the outlook of the
     Enlightenment. Supporters of the Enlightenment, which reached its peak
     in the eighteenth century, saw science and reason as indispensable
     forces in human progress (32). Thinkers such as Condorcet, Denis
     Diderot, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Thomas
     Paine, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith were key
     representatives of the Enlightenment. Their ideas helped to inspire
     the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789.
     More generally their outlook played a key role in the development of
     the modern world.
     From the start the Enlightenment had its opponents. An Essay on the
     Principle of Population by Malthus was itself a response to the ideas
     of William Godwin (1756-1836). Godwin's 1793 Enquiry Concerning
     Political Justice saw reason as a central force in human progress.
     From the start, environmentalist thinkers attacked the central
     principles of the Enlightenment. For instance, Rachel Carson, the
     author of Silent Spring (1962), generally regarded as the founding
     text of environmentalism, was opposed to the Enlightenment project of
     increasing human control over nature. In an American television
     programme in 1963 she stated that: 'We still talk in terms of
     conquest. We still haven't become mature enough to think of ourselves
     as a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man's attitude to
     nature is today critically important because we have acquired a
     fateful power to alter and destroy nature.' (33)
     No serious scientist would dispute that the earth is a tiny part of an
     almost unimaginably massive universe. But in relation to the future of
     humanity, the development of human organisation is a key factor.
     Humanity has benefited enormously from its increasing capacity to
     interact and shape the natural world to meet its own ends.
     Carson's hostility to increasing human control over nature is
     expressed in many different ways by her successors. Schumacher, for
     instance, linked it to what he describes as 'human wickedness'. For
     him the idea that 'the problem of production has been solved' through
     the emergence of modern industrial society is an abomination. 'The
     arising of this error, so egregious and so firmly rooted, is closely
     connected with the philosophical not to say religious, changes during
     the last three or four centuries in man's attitude to nature... Modern
     man does not experience himself as part of nature but as an outside
     force destined to dominate and conquer it' (34).
     But it is Schumacher who makes an 'egregious' error by collapsing man
     into nature. It is precisely by striving to overcome natural forces
     that humanity has advanced. Economic activity is central to separating
     human beings from mere animals, since it enables us to go far beyond
     meeting our most basic needs for subsistence. Without a developed
     economic infrastructure, we wouldn't be able to produce fine art,
     explore science or indeed write books on the environment.
     A particular hate figure for environmentalists is Francis Bacon
     (1561-1626), the earliest advocate of the notion that man should
     attempt to take control over nature. For Vandana Shiva, one of India's
     leading environmentalists, his views are akin to rape and torture. She
     argues that: 'His was not a "neutral", "objective", "scientific"
     method. Rather it was a peculiarly masculine mode of aggression and
     domination over women and non-Western cultures. The severe testing of
     hypotheses through controlled manipulations of nature, and the
     necessity of such manipulations if experiments are to be repeatable,
     were formulated by Bacon in clearly sexist metaphors. Both nature and
     the process of scientific enquiry appear conceptualized in ways
     modelled on rape and torture - on man's most violent and misogynous
     relationship with women.' (35)
     Shiva isn't on the fringes of environmentalist thinking - in 2000 she
     gave a prestigious BBC Reith lecture as part of a series on 'respect
     for the earth' (36). Neither is she alone in castigating Bacon in such
     extreme terms. For instance, a collection edited by Herman Daly
     includes a 1947 essay in which the author CS Lewis compares Bacon to
     Marlowe's Faustus - selling his soul to the devil (37).
     For environmentalists, there is no difference between control over
     nature and the destruction of the Earth. Mastery of nature is, in this
     view, synonymous with its obliteration. But for the supporters of the
     Enlightenment there is a fundamental difference between conquest and
     destruction. Human mastery of nature means controlling disease,
     averting natural disasters and above all overcoming scarcity. Conquest
     of nature is fundamental to human progress, and at the centre of the
     development of civilisation.
     Breeding confusion
     The mainstream advocates of environmentalist economics are wary of
     launching a full-frontal attack on economic growth. Only the Deep
     Greens, who represent a small minority, are willing to do so. Instead
     the normal procedure is to express 'scepticism' about growth. Growth
     is therefore linked to all sorts of maladies such as environmental
     damage, social inequality and unhappiness. It is also associated with
     potential problems in the future such as global warming. If all else
     fails the deliberately ambiguous concept of 'sustainability' is there
     to fall back on.
     There is good reason why environmentalists are coy about attacking
     growth directly. For they realise that the benefits of economic growth
     - including better living standards, better health and greater
     longevity - are enormously popular with the public. Few individuals
     are likely to welcome a sustained cut in their standard of living.
     The implementation of environmentalist economics means consigning most
     of the world's inhabitants to poverty. Even in the developed world
     there is still a long way to go before material want can be abolished.
     In the third world the consequences of 'sustainable development',
     holding back economic growth, are even starker.
     Carlyle's description of Malthus's approach to economics as 'the
     dismal science' is only half true when it comes to contemporary
     environmentalists. It is certainly right to see environmentalism as
     deeply pessimistic in its perception of human beings. That is why it
     has so often been proved wrong in its frequent predictions of imminent
     doom. But it should be seen as a form of quackery rather than
     dignified with the title of science. Its gross underestimation of
     human potential, with people being viewed as parasites on the planet,
     inevitably leads to a misunderstanding of the social world.
     Daniel Ben-Ami is the author of Cowardly Capitalism: The Myth of the
     Global Financial Casino, John Wiley and Sons, 2001 (buy this book from
     [2]Amazon (UK) or [3]Amazon (USA)).
     Read on:
     [4]Beyond the Growth Fetish, by Daniel Ben-Ami
     [5]JK Galbraith goes mainstream, by Daniel Ben-Ami
     (1) [6]Global Poverty Down By Half Since 1981 But Progress Uneven As
     Economic Growth Eludes Many Countries, World Bank news release, 23
     April 2004
     (2) For a more general defence of humanism see Kenan Malik Man, Beast
     and Zombie London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson 2000
     (3) For example, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation argues
     that: 'The economy is a 'wholly owned subsidiary' of the environment'.
     Andrew Simms 'Real world environmental outlook' in Ann Pettifor (ed)
     Real World Economic Outlook, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p60.
     (4) Herman Daly makes this distinction. See Herman E Daly (ed) Toward
     A Steady-State Economy San Francisco: WH Freeman: 1973
     (5) See, for example, Joseph J Spengler 'Was Malthus Right?' in Thomas
     Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population, Norton
     Critical Edition.: New York: Norton 1976
     (6) For a useful brief discussion of these trends see Vernon W Ruttan
     '[7]Can economic growth be sustained? A post-Malthusian perspective',
     Staff Paper P02-2, February 2002. Department of Applied Economics,
     College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University
     of Minnesota
     (7) The Limits to Growth sold nine million copies in 13 languages,
     according to Paul Hawken et al Natural Capitalism London: Earthscan
     1999, p145
     (8) EF Schumacher, Small is Beautiful London: Vintage 1993, p6
     (9) For a discussion of growth scepticism see [8]Beyond the growth
     fetish, by Daniel Ben-Ami
     (10) See Kenneth Boulding 'The Economics of the Coming Spaceship
     Earth' in Thomas Robert Malthus An Essay on the Principle of
     Population, Norton Critical Edition. Norton: New York 1976
     (11) See Garrett Hardin 'The Tragedy of the Commons' in Thomas Robert
     Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population, Norton Critical
     Edition New York: Norton 1976
     (12) For example, a section of the influential 1987 Brundtland report
     on sustainable development was on the 'commons'. Our Common Future,
     Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987. For a discussion of the commons
     in relation to intellectual property see [9]The Creative Commons, by
     Sandy Starr
     (13) Donella H Meadows et al, The Limits to Growth, New York: Potomac
     Associates 1972, table 4 p64-7
     (14) For a defence of The Limits to Growth see Paul Hawken et al,
     Natural Capitalism London: Earthscan 1999, p144-146
     (15) Paul R Ehrlich, The Population Bomb, New York: Buccaneer 1968, p1
     (16) Georgescu-Roegen's book on the subject is The Entropy Law and the
     Economic Process, Harvard 1971. A version of the introduction is
     available as 'The Entropy Law and the Economic Problem' in Herman E
     Daly (ed) Toward A Steady-State Economy, San Francisco: WH Freeman
     1973. Daly also discusses his work and that of others on the subject
     in Beyond Growth Boston: Beacon 1996. For a discussion of the idea
     from a critical perspective see John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science
     and the Retreat from Reason, London: Merlin 1995, p188-191
     (17) John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from
     Reason, London: Merlin 1995,p189.
     (18) See, for example, [10]Inflaming the oil crisis, by Joe Kaplinsky
     (19) John Gillott and Manjit Kumar, Science and the Retreat from
     Reason, London: Merlin 1995,p190
     (20) See, for example, EF Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, London:
     Vintage 1993
     (21) For such an approach see 'Partha Dasgupta' 'Economic growth often
     accompanies a decline in a poor country's wealth' New Statesman 3
     November 2003
     (22) A Dictionary of Biology, Market House Books 2000
     (23) For an environmentalist discussion of 'carrying capacity' see
     Herman E Daly Beyond Growth Boston: Beacon 1996. For critical views
     see Frank Furedi Population and Development Cambridge: Polity 1997,
     p35-6 and James Heartfield 'The Economics of Sustainable Development'
     in Ian Abley and James Heartfield Sustaining Architecture in the
     Anti-Machine Age, Chichester: Wiley-Academy, p101
     (24) Quoted in [11]The end of the Oil Age, Economist 23 October 2003
     (25) See, for example, Ulrich Beck Risk Society, London: Sage 1992 and
     Anthony Giddens Beyond Left and Right Cambridge: Polity 1994
     (26) See, for example, [12]Challenging the precautionary principle, by
     Helene Guldberg
     (27) This point is made by JC Hanekamp et al 'The historical roots of
     precautionary thinking' Journal of Risk Research (forthcoming). The
     authors argue that The Limits to Growth embodies a precautionary
     approach even though it does not use the term
     (28) Our Common Future, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1987, p42
     (29) It should be noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
     Change's report, [13]Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, is largely based
     on social science literature that is heavily influenced by
     (30) See the [14]text of the Kyoto Protocol
     (31) See [15]Bring back the weathermen, by Joe Kaplinsky
     (32) See Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment London: Penguin 1982
     (33) Quoted in [16]Rachel Carson dies of cancer: 'Silent Spring'
     author was 56, obituary in New York Times, 15 April 1964
     (34) EF Schumacher Small is Beautiful, London: Vintage 1993, p2-3
     (35) Vandana Shiva 'Resources' in Wolfgang Sachs (ed), The Development
     Dictionary London: Zed, p209
     (36) See [17]Reith lectures 2000. Other lecturers that year included
     Gro Harlem Brundtland and Prince Charles.
     (37) CS Lewis 'The abolition of man' in Herman E Daly (ed) Toward A
     Steady-State Economy, San Francisco: WH Freeman 1973, p330. Lewis
     himself was an evangelical Anglican rather than an environmentalist in
     the later sense


     2. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471899631/spiked
     3. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471899631/spiked-20
     4. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA483.htm
     5. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA64E.htm
     6. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20194973~menuPK:34463~pagePK:64003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html
     7. http://agecon.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/pdf_view.pl?paperid=3905&ftype=.pdf
     8. http://www.spiked-online.com/articles/0000000CA483.htm
     9. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA401.htm
    10. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA562.htm
    11. http://www.economist.com/printedition/displaystory.cfm?Story_ID=2155717
    12. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006DE2F.htm
    13. http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg3/index.htm
    14. http://unfccc.int/resource/convkp.html
    15. http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA3F0.htm
    16. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0527.html
    17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/reith_2000/default.stm

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