To Choose a Future: Resource and Environmental Consequences of Alternative Growth Paths

By Ronald G. Ridker; William D. Watson | Go to book overview
Slower rates of growth will not automatically change this situation, but at least a bit of the urgency--the crash program character of much of what we do-would be eliminated.Finally, continued growth closes off options. There is less land per person, less choice, less room for diversity, less margin for error. Technology must advance; life-styles must change. Some may prefer this emerging world, but for those who do not, there will be fewer alternatives.Because our quantitative analysis cannot take these consequences of growth into account, there is a tendency to understate the resource and environmental impacts of alternate growth rates. A useful way to characterize the overall impact is to say that a decline in growth rates purchases not only time, but also resources and additional options: time to search for solutions, resources to implement them, and additional freedom of choice in deciding how we want to live.At this level of generality, both population and economic growth have similar impacts. The principal difference is that although the resource and environmental impacts of population growth take somewhat longer to be felt than those of economic growth, there is a more rigid linkage between these impacts and population growth, each additional person bringing along an additional packet of resource and environmental pressures. In contrast, economic growth can be used for different ends than it is put to now. Although it adds to problems that need solution, it also adds to the capacity to solve problems. It is difficult to find similar offsetting advantages from additional population growth at this stage in U.S. history.
References
Goeller, H. E., and A. M. Weinberg. 1976. "The Age of Substitutability," Science vol. 191, no. 4228 (February 20).
Hirsch, F. 1976. Social Limits to Growth ( Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press).
Nordhaus, W., and J. Tobin. 1972. "Is Economic Growth Obsolete?" in Milton Moss , ed., The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance ( New York, National Bureau for Economic Research).
Simon, J. 1977. The Economics of Population Growth ( Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press).

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To Choose a Future: Resource and Environmental Consequences of Alternative Growth Paths
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Explanatory Noted and Units of Measure xv
  • I - Approaching the Task 1
  • References 13
  • 2 - Assumptions and Scenarios 15
  • References 56
  • 3 - The National Economy 58
  • References 94
  • 4 - Nonfuel Minerals 96
  • Conclusions 148
  • References 154
  • 5 - Energy 157
  • References 216
  • 6 - Agriculture 221
  • References 248
  • 7 - Pollution Costs and Control Benefits 250
  • Conclusions 296
  • 8 - Other Environmental Concerns 325
  • References 368
  • 9 - Summary and Prospects 372
  • References 410
  • Appendix 411
  • References 452
  • Epilogue 456
  • References 459
  • Index 460
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