Environmental activism ignores economic realities

Prof Sinclair Davidson: "I think we need to be very suspicious of anybody who takes the view that it's my way or the highway.  And unfortunately the environmental activists seem to have fallen into that trap where they work very strictly on the perspective that you can either have an environment or you can have an economy.  And yet the historical record simply does not show that to be the case.  The environment, or let me rephrase that, a good environment, a nice environment, a green environment is what economists would call a superior good.  As our incomes rise so we demand nice surroundings, better environments and we see it around the world.  When economies are going through the development phase, they sacrifice everything or most things in order to get their economy going, and then as incomes rise we tend to find that people start demanding a better environment.  And so the rich capitalist economies have actually got greener economies than do the poor developing economies.  And so rich economies are able to manage the tradeoff between having a good environment and having a good economy.  So getting the balance right, sure it's a juggling act, but it can be done and the environmentalists have lost track of that.  They actually want to have a world where we have got a wonderful green economy and yet there's no economy in the green economy, there's all this green.  And so we simply cannot afford that because people don't want to do that.  Green jobs don't pay very well, they don't provide a high standard of living and people don't want to sacrifice a higher standard of living.  But at the same time they want to have a good environment, they are demanding a good environment and we find in rich economies they get a good environment."

Categories: Activism, Economy, Energy Concerns, Environment, Environment & Climate, Resources & Economy
Author: Prof. Sinclair Davidson
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