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Unformatted text preview: GROWTH --> ENVIRONMENTAL COLLAPSE Economic growth causes environment degradation making environmental regulations irrelevant Douglas E. Booth , professor of economics at Marquette University, 19 95 (Economic Growth and the Limits of Environmental Regulation: A Social Economic Analysis, Review of Social Economy, Vol. 54) After a quarter century of environmental regulation in this country under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies, significant environmental threats remain . Ambient standards for ozone and other air pollutants are frequently violated in urban areas, lakes and rivers continue to be heavily polluted, groundwater is increasingly threatened with contamination, ambient levels of toxic chemicals in the biotic food chain are at high levels, little has been done about the potentially serious problem of greenhouse warming, and biodiversity is threatened as a consequence of reduced and fragmented natural habitats . Why has the regulatory system failed to fully address our environmental problems? The goal of this paper is to suggest that the roots of environmental problems, and the failure of environmental regulation, are deeply embedded in the processes that generate economic growth . The logic of the argument to be presented will take the following form: long-run economic growth relies on the creation of new industries and new forms of economic activity; these new forms of economic activity create new kinds of environmental problems; and new forms of economic activity constitute vested political interests that oppose environmental regulation . Each of the three main sections of the paper will provide theoretical and empirical justification for each component part of the basic argument. Environmental destruction results in extinction Les Kaufmann 81 , Chief Scientist at Edgerton Research Lab, THE LAST EXTINCTION, 1981, p. 4 The fourth argument for preserving biological diversity is the simplest: Our lives depend on it. We are part of a common fabric of life. Our survival is dependent on the integrity of this fabric , for the loss of a few critical threads could lead to a quick unraveling of the whole . We know that there have been previous mass extinctions, through which some life survived. As for our own chances of surviving this mass extinction, there can be no promises . If the Grim Reaper plays any favorites at all, then it would seem to be a special fondness for striking down dominant organisms in their prime. David Joblinski examines the fates of rudist dames, mammalike reptiles, dinosaurs, and a host of other scintillating but doomed creatures in his essay. Humans are now the dominant creatures, at least in terms of their influence. So, lest history bear false witness and barring some serious conservation efforts on our partcreatures, at least in terms of their influence....
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course DEBATE 101 taught by Professor None during the Spring '12 term at University of California, Berkeley.
- Spring '12