The Place of Nature in Economic Development

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Summer School on Global Sustainability

Are humanity's dealings with nature sustainable? Should one expect the global economic growth that has been experienced over the past five decades to continue in the foreseeable future? Should we be confident that knowledge and human skills will increase in such ways as to lessen our reliance on nature in relation to humanity's growing numbers and rising economic activity? Contemporary discussions on these questions are now several decades old. If they have remained alive and continue to be shrill, it is because two opposing empirical perspectives shape them. On the one hand, if we look at specific examples of natural capital (aquifers, ocean fisheries, tropical forests, the atmosphere as a carbon sink - or ecosystems, generally), there is convincing evidence that at the rates at which we currently exploit them they are very likely to change character dramatically for the worse, with little advance notice.

This lecture will explore these ideas and many more in a comprehensive and detailed analysis of emerging and established economies, and externalized as well as internalized economic and policy issues.

Please review the following paper The Place of Nature in Economic Development, given on Thursday July 16.