The Economist vs. The Environmentalist

Most people would agree that economic growth and the environment are opposite forces that have been at war with each other for decades now. Economists have often felt that environmentalist restraints on economic growth were a threat to human progress. Environmentalists realize that our natural resources are limited and believe that conservation is key. Perhaps the answer to resolving this ongoing conflict of interests is compromise. Since no one is going to ever be able to convince the people of the world to give up there vehicles, than why don't we work with technology as best as possible to improve and help save our environment. Use technology to discover and develop man-made resources that can replace the use of our natural resources. It was through the technology of deep water drilling that we were able to discover more oil reserves. Human beings are selfish by nature and we will do whatever we can to give ourselves a better standard of living. Since this is inevitable, why don't we just try and do our best at using technology for the good of the environment. Lets do our best to make growth and technology an ally and not a threat to the environment.


June said...

It would be great to discover more advenced technology and more efficient use of current technology. As you said we are selfish by nature, and developing new technology costs a lot of money.

Anyone with enough money to devote to research could benefit greatly from such advencements in the long run. But remember the old saying, "In the long-run we are all dead".

Fred said...

How nice it would be to tie the two together, economists and environmentalists. From the outside it is easy to see if only given attention that something must be done to bring the two together. But on the inside nearly all environmentalists are riduculously picky and would have the government and the people waste money on the conservation of nature. The truth is that almost always the two are very opposing to one another in view. Economists use marginal analysis while I hate to say environmentalists are guilty of not.

Fred said...
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Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Jones post for no link, and on June's comment for a spelling mistake.

Economists don't generally feel that there is a conflict at all - rich countries are cleaner and more environmentally friendly as a rule.

Economists do tend to have a chip on their shoulder about environmentalists because we are the only social science that starts out with scarcity as an axiom. We feel slighted when others don't recognize that scarce and fragile resources are built into everything we do.

Economists also have problems with the tendency of environmentalists to prefert command-and-control policies over ones which permit people to make informed choices about their own tradeoffs.