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Macroeconomics and the Environment

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy

Though scientists and environmentalists have long expressed concern over the rapid deterioration of the global environment, economists have largely failed to recognize the issue’s relevance to their field. Salah El Serafy argues for an increased focus on the economic aspects of environmental degradation, calling for a fundamental shift in how economists measure and discuss national income.
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Chapter 17: Green accounting and economic policy

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy


The genesis of this chapter was a paper that appeared in 1997 in Ecological Economics, 21, pp. 217–229. Whilst policy matters have been raised in practically all the preceding chapters, here the major policy issues that merit consideration once the national accounts have been greened are grouped together. Drastic excisions have been made in the original paper to avoid more repetition. Some repetition of matters dealt with in earlier chapters remains, but it is the kind of repetition that sheds new light on what has been said before. This is particularly the case with sections II and III on weak and strong sustainability and on the satellite accounts, which are elaborated here to open up the discussion of macroeconomic policy issues.

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