Exploring the Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms, Fourth Edition
Chapter 3: Resources, the Environment and Economic Growth: Is Natural Capital Substitutable?
This chapter discusses a question that might come to the reader’s mind after having been confronted with the two paradigms of sustainability: if they have so starkly differing assumptions about the substitutability of natural capital, how can we know which paradigm is ‘correct’? I will argue that both paradigms ultimately rest on non-falsifiable beliefs about the future. There can therefore be no clear answer on whether natural capital is substitutable or not. Section 3.1 puts the discussion into context in giving a brief history of resource and environmental concern. Section 3.2 looks at natural capital as an input into the production of consumption goods. It suggests that the resource optimism of WS can be expressed in four propositions and critically assesses each one of them.
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