Environment versus Economic Progress

The fierce conflicts between conservationists on one side and workers, industrialists, and some politicians on the other arise from a misconception.

Both parties in fact desire the same goal – economic well-being. But the latter and many of the former believe that environmental conservation and economic progress are conflicting aims, between which a balance or compromise must be found.  ... Read more

Solar Energy – a Special Case

The term solar energy means not only the direct radiant energy of the sun, but also its stored forms – plants, animals, fossil fuels.

The sun’s radiant energy is not a resource, but the result of throughput of a resource – that being the sun’s matter.  ... Read more

Visual and Noise Pollution

In terms of physically damaging, poisoning, or depleting the earth’s living environment, there are no such things as visual or noise pollution.

These are red herrings in the sense that, for example, people who object to the noise of rock music, traffic, or children at play, or object to the replacement of an ornamental old building by a stark new one, feel entitled to attach their cause to the environmental cause (feeling licensed by the use of the word “pollution” in describing what they object to), thereby distracting attention from issues of real importance to the living environment and diverting energy that should go into resolving those issues in the environment’s favour.  ... Read more

When will the Economy get Back to ‘Normal’?

Someone asked me the other day if I thought the world economy would get back to ‘normal’ this year.

By ‘normal’ this person meant the familiar unsustainable economic pattern of ever-growing consumption. I explained that this might well happen for a while, but because it was not sustainable it would run into trouble and be stalled again in some way, as it was late in 2008 and has been before in recent history.  ... Read more

Supply-side Economics and the Laffer Curve

So-called “Reaganomics” practiced during the 1980’s by the Reagan Administration in the USA was nothing more than a distorted Keynesian Great Depression policy practiced in the wrong context.

The theory was that large tax cuts would boost economic activity by giving people more money to spend on goods and services.  ... Read more

Discussion of Costs Resumed

Partial Accounting: Another spurious “cost” often used as a basis for policy appears as a result of partial accounting. An urban public transport service might be reduced or eliminated on the grounds that the costs of the service are nowhere near covered by passenger fares, and that costs can be reduced and the nation or city thereby enriched by cutting the service.  ... Read more

Economic Growth Redefined

A more accurate definition of economic growth would be any change in the relation between the throughput and renewal rates, for a given resource for which throughput exceeds renewal, in which change the ratio of the throughput rate to the renewal rate falls, or conversely the ratio of renewal to throughput increases.  ... Read more

Limits to Growth?

Current economics assumes a world of unlimited resources, unlimited wealth. No matter how rapidly a resource is used, either (i) “They” will always find more, or (ii) substitute resources will always be found to serve to any required extent as well or better in place of the depleted resource.  ... Read more

The Problem of Government Debt

A major problem for economies around the world is government debt. This matter has been mentioned in other posts. Many governments have been running a deficit on their annual budget for years. It is not universally realised that these deficits are cumulative.  ... Read more

More Dollars for Conservation?

So, environmental conservation must be the primary goal, and economic well-being depends on it – not the other way round.

That last phrase refers to the spurious argument that economic “progress” as currently understood, i.e., increasing throughput of wealth, provides money which can be spent on conserving the environment.  ... Read more

Page 1 of 912345...Last »