Expenditure on Weapons

Huge sums are spent by governments on weapons and troops, particularly in certain countries. There are two remedies for this drain on government expenditure, one long-term and one short-term.

The long-term answer lies in the evolution of the world community towards political and economic unity – that is unity in the cooperative rather than in the monolithic sense.  … Read more

Who needs the Snail Darter?

A subtle, indirect but nevertheless important further way in which environmental depletion damages economic health is through the extinction of species.

A particular species may not be throughput directly in the sense that a particular economic activity is based directly on that species.  … Read more

Living Standard and Quality of Life

Another indirect adverse effect of environmental degradation on economic well-being arises from the effect of the degradation on people’s perception of their economic condition.

A further illustration of the erroneously perceived conflict between environmental conservation and economic well-being lies in this frequent reaction to some piece of environmental devastation: “Oh, well, at least it creates jobs for some people who wouldn’t have one otherwise.”

Certainly the degradation will keep some people busy for a while, but because of the depletion of the resource on which their jobs depend, there will be a net loss of jobs.  … Read more

Digression: Depletion and Inflation

Throughput of resources, a first derivative of wealth, is of two kinds, gross and net. Net throughput is the flow of goods and services in the economy. Gross throughput is net throughput plus the resources required to extract and process wealth into these goods and services.  … Read more

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

Digression: Bad Economics Good for Conservation?

This digression takes another journey over ground traversed in the post “Digression – Resource Consumption, jobs, and ‘Hands Off’ ” and in the Foreword.

In the foregoing discussion of pensions there appears to be a contradiction – the current trend of pension payments threatens severe economic dislocation, but such dislocation slows throughput and conserves wealth.  … Read more

Employment and the Steady State

It is necessary here to repeat a point made or implied earlier, that the level and rate of change of economic activity and the level of unemployment are to a large extent independent of one another. Not totally independent of course, each is one determinant of the other.  … Read more

Digression: Fast Breeder Nuclear Fission Reactors

This technology promises to expand the amount of fissionable fuel available from natural uranium by a factor of about 60, by “breeding” more fuel than it consumes. This doesn’t change the non-renewable nature of the total uranium resource, but it does promise to make it so abundant as to encourage a casual attitude towards energy conservation.  … Read more

Global Warming – Is it too late?

There are four main opinions on the subject of global warming:

1) It’s not happening.

OR

2) It’s happening but has causes other than anthropogenic increases in the atmospheric carbon dioxide content, for instance the precession of the nodes of the earth’s orbit and cyclical variations in the sun’s radiation.

  … 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

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