Joint Production and Responsibility in Ecological Economics

Joint Production and Responsibility in Ecological Economics

On the Foundations of Environmental Policy

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Stefan Baumgärtner, Malte Faber and Johannes Schiller

This groundbreaking book takes a fresh look at how environmental problems emerge from economic activity and how they may be addressed in a responsible and sustainable manner. At its centre is the concept of joint production. This captures the phenomenon whereby several effects necessarily emerge from one activity and whereby human action always entails unintended consequences. This, according to the authors, is the structural cause behind modern-day environmental problems.

Chapter 17: Cement: Stock Dynamics and Complexity

Eva Kiesele

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, ecological economics, environmental economics


∗ 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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