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Steady- State Economics and Environmental Philosophy - Research Paper Example

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Marissa Sims Steve Naragon Environmental Philosophy May 8, 2011 Steady- State Economics and Environmental Philosophy Herman Daly (2008) in his paper, A Steady State Economy defines a steady state economy as one with constant population and constant stock of capital, maintained by a low rate of throughput that is within the regenerative and assimilative capacities of the ecosystem…
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Steady- State Economics and Environmental Philosophy
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Steady- State Economics and Environmental Philosophy

Download file to see previous pages... Here Mill postulated for a future where an informed human community could reign in the increasing population to achieve a comfortable standard of living and then look outwardly toward realign social issues. John Maynard Keynes, an influential economist of the twentieth century, also referred to a society that could focus on ends (happiness and well-being) rather than means (economic growth and individual pursuit of profit). Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen recognized the connection between physical laws and economic activity and wrote about it in 1971 in The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. His insight was that the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy law, determines what is possible in the economy. Georgescu-Roegen explained that useful, low-entropy energy and materials are dissipated in transformations that occur in economic processes, and they return to the environment as high-entropy wastes. The economy, then, functions as a conduit for converting natural resources into goods, services, human satisfaction, and waste products. Increasing entropy in the economy sets the limit on the scale it can achieve and maintain. Increase in environmental problems witnessed in the early sixties and their documentation by scientists in books such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Barry Commoner’s The Closing Circle (1971), and The Limits to Growth (Donnella Meadows et al. 1972) led to concerns of ecology and natural resource depletion and pollution.Out of this arose the in the final decades of the 20th century the discipline of ecological economics that envisaged the combining of environmental protection and economic sustainability. Environmental philosophy now started to become an integral factor in all growth and development strategies. The concept of a steady state or equilibrium as defined in ecological science refers to a state of a system which interacts within its multiple trophic levels such that there is a flow of energy and cycling of matter. This steady state equilibrium has over the centuries assumed to have encompassed the entire planet such that the fluctuations in one trophic level resonated into the next and so on until an excited system vibrated within its amplitude of disturbance releasing and absorbing its energy flow within predetermined sinks to once again attain its equilibrium. Therefore it may be said that the earth has been in a steady state for centuries. The natural resources that took years to build in the form of fossil fuels, soil systems, the water and the mineral cycles, the biodiversity all remained within the limits of regeneration, replenishment and revival. With the advent of industrialization in the last century and the so called development within the cost benefit ratios of unlimited growth,a cycle of natural resource exploitation commenced..Global economic output surged some 18-fold between 1900 and 2000 and reached $66 trillion in 2006(Gardner and Prugh, 2008). An annual assessment of the most significant risks to the world’s economies commissioned by the business-sponsored World Economic Forum found that many of the 23 diverse risks did not exist at the global level twenty five years ago. These included environmental risks such as climate change, the strain on freshwater ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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