With issues like global warming and the loss of biodiversity becoming increasingly important to policymakers and scientists worldwide, the issue of sustainability cannot be ignored. Sustainable management of the biosphere has been the subject of much attention among ecologists, environmental engineers and other members of the scientific community. Yet although these issues are clearly rooted in economic behaviour and organization, the question of sustainability is not one that has been addressed directly by economists. This text presents a framework for understanding the Earth's future from an economic perspective. Geoffrey Heal's model begins with a reconciliation of the economist's and environmentalist's time horizon: in economics, discussions of "the long run" generally refer to a much shorter timeline than do those of the earth sciences. The work shows the benefits of viewing the environment as an economic asset that should be understood as part of a nation's income and explains how this approach can lead to more conservative patterns of resource use. It also provides complete mathematical templates for the valuation of a depletable stock and of renewable resources, the proper calculation of national income and the conduct of cost-benefit analysis.
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Heal presents a coherent framework for understanding the Earth's future from an economic perspective and offers a dynamic new blueprint for comprehending sustainability.About the Author:
Geoffrey Heal is Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility and professor of economics and finance of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. A past president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, he is the author of many scientific articles and thirteen books, including Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources and Nature and the Marketplace.
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