On the Foundations of Environmental Policy
Advances in Ecological Economics series
Chapter 17: Cement: Stock Dynamics and Complexity
∗ with Eva Kiesele 17.1 Introduction: Cement Production – from a Cheap Substitute to a Key Industry This case study focuses on the interplay of joint production and stock dynamics. In Section 4.4, we highlighted that by their very property of persistency over time, stocks are likely to create future eﬀects on production and consumption possibilities, and economic choice. We then argued that stocks are a source of generalised joint production over time (cf. Section 4.4.2). Considering the example of cement manufacture in Germany from its beginnings in the early nineteenth century to the largescale industrial production of today, we shall now demonstrate how the build-up of capital stocks and their interrelation can lead to an increase in the complexity of the economy. It is for several reasons that the cement industry is well suited for that purpose: • Ease of description. The cement production is a primary industry. Its inputs and outputs are relatively few homogeneous and standardised mass products, and the production process is quite simple. The industry can thus be characterised completely by its input and output ﬂows and a small number of technical properties. • Economic signiﬁcance. Although its annual turnover is rather small (in the 1990s about 0.15 % of German GDP, BDZ 1998), the cement industry is of major relevance to the gross domestic product: cement is a necessary input in the production of many investment goods, particularly in the whole construction industry, comprising about 13 % of GDP by the mid 1990s (BDZ 1998: 33)...
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