Managing Without Growth

Managing Without Growth

Slower by Design, Not Disaster

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Peter A. Victor

Peter Victor challenges the priority that rich countries continue to give to economic growth as an over-arching objective of economic policy. The challenge is based on a critical analysis of the literature on environmental and resource limits to growth, on the disconnect between higher incomes and happiness, and on the failure of economic growth to meet other key economic, social and environmental policy objectives. Shortly after World War II, economic growth became the paramount economic policy objective in most countries, a position that it maintains today. This book presents three arguments on why rich countries should turn away from economic growth as the primary policy objective and pursue more specific objectives that enhance wellbeing.

Chapter 5: Limits to Growth – Sinks and Services

Peter A. Victor

Subjects: environment, ecological economics, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy

Extract

ecosystem services provide an important portion of the total contribution to human welfare on this planet. We must begin to give the natural capital stock that produces these services adequate weight in the decision-making process otherwise current and continued future welfare may drastically suffer. (Costanza et al., 1997) In the last chapter, we saw that concerns about the adequacy of sources of materials and energy to support global economic growth have a long history of claims and counter claims. Possibilities for decoupling growth from material and energy inputs exist but what evidence there is suggests that it will have to be far more effective in the future than it has been in the past if total requirements are to decline while more than 9 billion people strive for economic growth. Oil is right in the centre of the debate about sources and their limits. The prodigious demand for oil imports by the USA, having long surpassed the peak of its own domestic oil production, puts in sharp relief the challenge of an energy transition in the world’s largest economy. Success or failure in the USA will have enormous ramifications for us all. In this chapter, we look at what becomes of the materials and energy after they have been discharged as wastes and at the adequacy of the environment to absorb them. 5.1 SINKS What goes into an economy must come out eventually. Such is the nature of economies as open systems. The vast quantities of wastes...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information