Economics, Politics, Worldviews and the Environment

Chapter 14

Economic Resources


•Natural resources

•Human resources

•Physical resources


Neoclassical vs. Ecological Economists

•Differing views of natural resources

•Differing views on economic growth


•indicators of economic and environmental health

•full-cost pricing

•swap subsidies

•green taxes

•stricter pollution laws

•tradable permits

•reduce poverty


Monitoring Environmental Progress

•Gross domestic product (GDP)

•Per capita GDP

•Genuine progress indicator (GPI)

•GPI = GDP + non-economic goods and services – harmful costs

Harmful External Costs and Full-Cost Pricing

•Internal costs (direct)

•External costs (indirect)

•Full-cost pricing


Improving Environmental Quality and Shifting to Full-Cost Pricing

•Government subsidies and tax breaks

•Green taxes

•Environmental tax reform

•Innovation-friendly regulations

•Tradable pollution and resource-use rights

•Market forces


Reducing Poverty to Improve Environmental Quality and Human Well-Being


•Premature death and health problems

•Environmental impact of poverty

•Role of the World Bank

•Poor help themselves


Developing, Influencing, and Implementing Environmental Policy

•Humility Principle

•Reversibility Principle

•Precautionary Principle

•Prevention Principle

•Polluter Pays Principle

•Integrative Principle

•Public Participation Principle

•Human Rights Principle

•Environmental Justice Principle


Opponents of Environmental Groups and their Claims

•Threatened by environmental regulations

•Threats to private property rights and jobs

•Local and state governments resent unfunded federal regulations

•Businesses and individuals resent complex and expensive federal regulations

•View environmental regulations as unnecessary, ineffective and too costly



Global Environmental Policy

•Military security, economic security

•Environmental security

•International organizations and meetings

•International agreements

•Effects of GATT and the WTO


What Can You Do?
Influencing Environmental Policy

•Become informed on issues

•Run for office (especially at local level)

•Make your views known at public hearings

•Make your views known to elected representatives

•Contribute money and time to candidates for office


•Form or join nongovernment organizations (NGOs) seeking change

•Support reform of election campaign financing


Environmental Worldviews in Industrial Societies





•Biosphere- or earth-centered



Environmental Worldviews in Industrial Societies

Planetary Management Worldview

•As the planet’s most important species, we are in charge of the   earth.

•Because of our ingenuity and technology we will not run out of resources.

•The potential for economic growth is essentially unlimited.

•Our success depends on how well we manage the earth’s life-support systems mostly for our benefit


Stewardship Worldview

•We are the planet’s most important species but we have an ethical responsibility to care for the rest of nature.

•We will probably not run out of resources, but they should not be wasted.

•We should encourage environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth and discourage environmentally harmful forms.

•Our success depends on how well we manage the earth’s life-support systems for our benefit and for the rest of nature


Environmental Wisdom Worldview

•Nature exists for all species and  we are not in charge of the earth.

•Resources are limited, should not be wasted, and are not all for us.

•We should encourage earth-sustaining forms of economic growth and discourage earth degrading forms.

•Our success depends on learning how the earth sustains itself and integrating such lessons from nature into the ways we think and act.