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The role of natural resources in production: Georgescu-Roegen/ Daly versus Solow/ Stiglitz

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  • Quentin Couix

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper proposes a historical and epistemological account of one of the key controversy between natural resources economics and ecological economics, lasting from early 1970s to the end of 1990s. It shows that the theoretical disagreement on the scope of the economy's dependence to natural resources, such as energy and minerals, has deep methodological roots. On one hand, Solow's and Stiglitz's works are built on a "model-based methodology", where the model precedes and supports the conceptual foundations of the theory and in particular the assumption of "unbounded resources productivity". On the other hand, Georgescu-Roegen's counter-assumption of "thermodynamic limits to production", later revived by Daly, rest on a methodology of "interdisciplinary consistency" which considers thermodynamics as a relevant scientific referent for economic theory. While antagonistic, these two methodologies face similar issues regarding the conceptual foundations that arise from them, which is a source of confusion and of the difficult dialogue between paradigms.

Suggested Citation

  • Quentin Couix, 2018. "The role of natural resources in production: Georgescu-Roegen/ Daly versus Solow/ Stiglitz," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01702401, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-01702401
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01702401
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mayumi, Kozo & Giampietro, Mario & Gowdy, John M., 1998. "Georgescu-Roegen/Daly versus Solow/Stiglitz Revisited," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 115-117, November.
    2. Levallois, Clément, 2010. "Can de-growth be considered a policy option? A historical note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2271-2278, September.
    3. Ayres, Robert U., 2007. "On the practical limits to substitution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 115-128, February.
    4. Castle, Emery N., 1997. "A comment on Georgesu-Roegen, Daly, Solow and Stiglitz," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 305-306, September.
    5. Roxana Bobulescu, 2012. "The making of a Schumpeterian economist: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(4), pages 625-651, August.
    6. Daly, Herman E., 1997. "Reply to Solow/Stiglitz," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 271-273, September.
    7. Cleveland, Cutler J. & Ruth, Matthias, 1997. "When, where, and by how much do biophysical limits constrain the economic process?: A survey of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's contribution to ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 203-223, September.
    8. Common, Mick, 1997. "Is Georgescu-Roegen versus Solow/Stiglitz the important point?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 277-279, September.
    9. Mauro Boianovsky & Kevin D. Hoover, 2009. "The Neoclassical Growth Model and Twentieth-Century Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 1-23, Supplemen.
    10. Clark, Colin W., 1997. "Renewable resources and economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 275-276, September.
    11. Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, 1986. "The Entropy Law and the Economic Process in Retrospect," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 3-25, Jan-Mar.
    12. Guido Erreygers, 2009. "Hotelling, Rawls, Solow: How Exhaustible Resources Came to Be Integrated into the Neoclassical Growth Model," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 263-281, Supplemen.
    13. Ayres, Robert U., 1999. "The second law, the fourth law, recycling and limits to growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 473-483, June.
    14. Bobulescu, Roxana, 2015. "From Lotka's biophysics to Georgescu-Roegen's bioeconomics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 194-202.
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    Cited by:

    1. Quentin Couix, 2018. "From Methodology to Practice (and Back): Georgescu-Roegen's Philosophy of Economics and the Flow-Fund Model," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 18021, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural resources; thermodynamics; growth; sustainability; model; theory; methodology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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