Principles of Environmental Economics: Economics, Ecology and Public Policy

By Ahmed M. Hussen | Go to book overview

part three

ECOLOGY: THE ECONOMICS OF NATURE

One often wonders why two bright and highly regarded scholars can have diametrically opposite views and visions on the future state of the natural world. Upon a moment of reflection, however, such divergence of scholarly opinions is not so difficult to understand. It is rooted in the different sets of core assumptions scholars consciously or unconsciously hold about the very world that they are trying to analyze and, ultimately, understand. If this observation has any validity, it suggests that any effort intended to reconcile two polar views on the future states of our natural world should start with a careful scrutiny of the core assumptions held by each side.

In recent years, there seems to have been a pronounced divergence between the standard view of economists and that of ecologists concerning humans’ ability to coexist with the natural world. Without a doubt, one of the most important reasons for this development can be attributed to the difference in the core assumptions that the standard practitioners of these two disciplines have concerning the natural world. In Part One, we examined in some detail the basic perception of modern economists about the natural world and how it relates to the human economy. Part Three, which consists of only one chapter, is intended to provide the reader with the assumptions vital to the understanding of the ecological perspectives of natural resources—elements crucial to the sustenance of human economy.

More specifically, in Part Three economics students are asked to venture beyond the realm of their discipline to study some basic

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