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An Assessment of the Growth Debate: A Comparison of Perspectives

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  • Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

    ()
    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Ruud A. de Mooij

    ()
    (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

Abstract

The debate on growth versus environment, including the more recent literature on sustainabledevelopment, is systematically evaluated in a stylized framework. Diffent perspectives on the conflictand relation between the economy, growth and the natural environment, have created a situationwhere people do not talk the same language. A conceptual framework is developed which allows toexplain main diffences between alternative perspectives. Five categories are distinguished, labelledas: "the immaterialist", "the pessimist", "the technocrat", "carpe diem" and "the optimist". Boththe conceptual framework and a set of characteristics (time horizon, ideology, prediction and policyimplication) are used to compare these perspectives. Primarily the choice of a time horizon and thesubjective evaluation of technical potential, the flexibility of social preferences and institutions, andthe stability and resilience of natural systems, explain differences between the perspectives. Sucha systematic confrontation is hoped to contribute to more consensus and understanding betweensupporters of alternative perspectives.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 97-096/3.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 1997
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:19970096

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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  1. John Pezzey, 1992. "Sustainability: an interdisciplinary guide," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 1(4), pages 321-362, November.
  2. Sjak Smulders, 1995. "Entropy, environment, and endogenous economic growth," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 319-340, August.
  3. John M. Gowdy, 1997. "The Value of Biodiversity: Markets, Society, and Ecosystems," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(1), pages 25-41.
  4. William D. Nordhaus, 1992. "Lethal Model 2: The Limits to Growth Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 1-60.
  5. Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C. S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Maler, Karl-Goran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 91-95, November.
  6. Smulders, J.A., 1994. "Growth, market structure and the environment: Essays on the theory of endogenous economic growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-153417, Tilburg University.
  7. Ayres, Robert U., 1995. "Economic growth: politically necessary but not environmentally friendly," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 97-99, November.
  8. Bromley, Daniel W., 1995. "Property rights and natural resource damage assessments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 129-135, August.
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