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Arrow,+1995+_Ecological+Economics_

Arrow,+1995+_Ecological+Economics_ - POLICY FORUM Economic...

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POLICY FORUM Economic Growth, Carrying Capacity, and the Environment Kenneth Arrow, Bert Bolin, Robert Costanza, Partha Dasgupta, Carl Folke, C. S. Holling, Bengt-Owe Jansson, Simon Levin, Kari-Goran Mdler, Charles Perrings, David Pimentel National and international economic pol- icy has usually ignored the environment. In areas where the environment is beginning to impinge on policy, as in the General Agree- ment on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it remains a tangential concern, and the presumption is often made that economic growth and economic liberaliza- tion (including the liberalization of interna- tional trade) are, in some sense, good for the environment. This notion has meant that economy-wide policy reforms designed to promote growth and liberalization have been encouraged with little regard to their environmental consequences, presumably on the assumption that these consequences would either take care of themselves or could be dealt with separately. In this article we discuss the relation between economic growth and environ- mental quality, and the link between eco- nomic activity and the carrying capacity and resilience of the environment (1). Economic Growth, Institutions, and the Environment The general proposition that economic growth is good for the environment has been justified by the claim that there exists an empirical relation between per capita income and some measures of environmen- tal quality. It has been observed that as K. Arrow is in the Department of Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. B. Bolin is in the Department of Meteorology, University of Stockholm, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. R. Costanza is director of the Maryland International Institute for Ecological Eco- nomics, University of Maryland, Box 38, Solomons, MD 20688, USA. P. Dasgupta is on the Faculty of Econom- ics, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB3 9DD, UK. C. Folke is at the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Box 50005, S- 104 05 Stockholm, Sweden. C. S. Holling is in the Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gaines- ville, FL 3261 1, USA. B. -0. Jansson is in the Department of Systems Ecology, University of Stockholm, S- 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. S. Levin is in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA. K.-G. Maler is director of the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Box 50005, S- 104 05 Stockholm, Sweden. C. Perrings is head of the De- partment of Environmental Economics and Environmen- tal Management, University of York, York Y01 5DD, UK. D. Pimentel is in the Department of Entomology and Section of Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. income goes up there is increasing environ- mental degradation up to a point, after which environmental quality improves.
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