Also See: Table of Contents, Editor's Note, Endorsements, and Purchase Information

To me, Henry Ford captured the true value of money when he said, "The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life."


TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION SOCIAL AND NATURAL SYSTEMS IN SIMULTANEOUS CRISIS
UNDERSTANDING THE INVIOLATE CONNECTION BETWEEN ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT
UNITING ECONOMICS AND ECOLOGY
OTHER IMPORTANT THREADS
TOWARD SOCIO-ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
PLAN OF THE BOOK

PART ONE—SETTING THE STAGE

CHAPTER 1: METHODOLOGICAL OVERVIEW
SYMPTOMATIC ANALYSIS
SYSTEMIC ANALYSIS
AN EVOLUTIONARY VIEW OF AMERICA
LESSONS FROM OUR ENERGY HISTORY
        Setting the Stage
        The Energy-Inflation Connection
        Toward Economic Reality
        Understanding the Crisis
        Extracting the Meaning
        Paradigm Shift

CHAPTER 2: ENERGY-THE CRITICAL RESOURCE
THE FLOW OF ENERGY IS THE ONLY REAL ECONOMY
FOLLOW THE ENERGY-NOT THE MONEY
LESSONS FROM THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS
FIVE OPERATING PRINCIPLES
        Principle 1—The Real Economics of Energy
        Principle 2—Counting Everything
        Principle 3—Energy Quality Is Vital
        Principle 4—Promote Diversity
        Principle 5—Work With Nature

PART TWO-ECONOMICS IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

CHAPTER 3: THE INNATE NATURE OF ECONOMICS
SCARCITY AND HUMAN SURVIVAL
ECONOMICS AND HUMAN NATURE
RATIONAL ECONOMIC MAN
FROM NECESSITIES TO WANTS AND SUBSISTENCE TO WEALTH
MISUSE OF ECONOMICS IN PRACTICE
        Example # 1
        Example # 2
        Example # 3
GROWTH AS ECONOMIC RELIGION

CHAPTER 4: CONSUMPTION THEORY
CONSUMPTION FOR SURVIVALCONSUMPTION IN PRACTICE
        From Necessities To Wants
        Assume Insatiability
AFFLUENCE AS AN UNMITIGATED PUBLIC GOOD
TOWARD AN ECONOMICS OF ENOUGH

CHAPTER 5: PRODUCTION
ORIGINAL INTENTION: MEET HUMAN NECESSITIES
THE GOAL HAS BEEN UNLIMITED PRODUCTION
RECONCILING THE DIFFERENCES
THE CONCEPT OF PRODUCTIVITY

CHAPTER 6: EXTERNALITIES
POLITICS, ECONOMICS AND EXTERNALITIES
UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE
THE NATURE OF MARKETS
IMPERFECT PROPERTY RIGHTS
PROCEEDING THROUGH EXAMPLE—THE PAPER MILL
DRAWING SOME CONCLUSIONS
FACING UNCERTAINTY

CHAPTER 7: DISTRIBUTION
THE QUESTION OF WHO GETS WHAT
DISTRIBUTION: THE ALL-IMPORTANT, IGNORED ELEMENT
ECONOMIC METHODOLOGY THWARTS REDISTRIBUTION
REVISITING THE NOTION OF SURPLUS
INEQUALITY AND ECONOMIC REALITIES
EQUITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE-THE KEY TO REAL SUSTAINABILITY

CHAPTER 8: MACROECONOMICS-IS IT STILL HELPFUL IN AN AGE OF SCARCITY?
ORIGINS OF MACRO-ECONOMICS
BASIC MACROECONOMIC WORLDVIEW
THE KEYNESIAN DILEMMA—UNEMPLOYMENT OR INFLATION?
CONTROLLING THE ECONOMY
REVISITING THE CAPITALIST SCENARIO
AGE OF SCARCITY CHANGES THE PARADIGM
A GROWING ECONOMY, A PLANET IN PERIL

PART THREE-RECONCILIATION AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

CHAPTER 9: THE MEANING OF SOCIAL-ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
THE THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY
UNDERSTANDING THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
        Ecological Integrity
                 Biological Living Trust as Management Tool
                 The Forest As a Triple-Bottom-Line Example
        Social Equity
        Economic Stability
                 Proposal To Build a Coal-Fired Electrical Generator
                 Establishment of a Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing Plant
                 Locating a ≥Big Box≤ Department Store In a Community
                 Establish a System of Community Gardens
SUSTAINABILITY IN PRACTICE-THE TRACK RECORD

CHAPTER 10: IMAGINING THE IDEAL WORLD
WE CAN ONLY MOVE TOWARD A POSITIVE
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE CURRENT WORLD
        Conventional Development Principles
        Assessing Conventional Wisdom
                1. Attract A Major Corporation
                2. Employ The Local Labor Force
                3. Produce Products For Export
                4. Have Industrial Lands Available
                5. Zoning And Infrastructure
                6. Property Tax Breaks
                7. Free Or Inexpensive Land
                8. Direct Financial Grants
                9. Education and Training Programs
                10.Trade Missions
        Summarizing the Local Approach
TARGETING THE STRATEGY
        Choice of Products
        Labor Force
        Financing the Vision
        Identifying the Market
        Finalizing the Vision

CHAPTER 11: COUNSEL FOR GETTING THERE
RESOURCE OVEREXPLOITATION
        Example 1. Pearl Oysters
        Example 2. Chinese Turtle Trade
        Historical Generalizations From These Examples:
                Lesson One: Emphasize Quality Rather Than Quantity
                Lesson Two: Recognize That Loss of Sustainability Occurs over Time
                Lesson Three: Recognize That Resource Issues Are Complex and Process-Driven
                Lesson Four: Accept the Uncertainty of Change
                Lesson Five: Stop Perceiving Loss as a Threat to Survival
                Lesson Six: Favor Biophysical Effectiveness Over Economic Efficiency
COMMUNITIES MUST ACTIVELY PLAN THEIR OWN FUTURES
        Universal Values
        Cultural Values
        Personal Values
BROAD-BASED PARTICIPATION A NECESSITY
NEED FOR BOTTOM UP THINKING
        Example: The Minimum Wage
        Top-Down Approach and the Minimum Wage
        Bottom-up Approach and the Minimum Wage
A FINAL WORD ON GROWTH
        Community
        National Economy
        Politics and Culture
        Environment
        Personal
SUMMING UP


Editor's Note for the "CRC Press" Book Series, Social-Environmental Sustainability:

All systems, those of nature and those of human construct, are governed by nature's biophysical principles. In turn, the two laws of thermodynamics and the law of maximum entropy control the biophysical principles. These laws and principles are inviolate, yet people who lack a sense of inner security—and thus fear life—can never have enough monetary wealth to feel safe from the specter of uncertainty. Thus, instead of living within the constraints of nature's laws and biophysical principles through cooperation and sharing, they attempt to subvert these laws and principles to their personal benefit through economic competition and the greed that spawns it. When, however, subversion does not work, they simply ignore nature and discount the welfare of all future generations as irrelevant. Clearly, an economic system is severely broken that allows such blatant disregard for its operating principles of mutual survival and well-being.

Alas, merely throwing money at our broken economic system in a bid to treat symptoms and continue with business as usual will not work. It never has. But, to mend what is broken, we must reach beyond where we feel safe and dare to move ahead, despite the fact that perfect knowledge will always elude us. There are no biological short cuts, technological quick fixes, or political hype embodied in our current symptomatic thinking that can mend what is broken. Dramatic, fundamental change in the form of systemic thinking is necessary if we are to have an economic system able to serve as an instrument of social-environmental sustainability based on the triple bottom line of ecological integrity, social equity, and economic stability.

Chris Maser, Series Editor
(Return to Top of Page)


Endorsements:

"The earth, our home, is in crisis. There are two sides to this crisis—our global economy, and its effect on the ecology of our home planet. Despite conventional thinking that typically monetary and fiscal manipulations will put us back on the path of economic growth, the reality is not that simple. Meanwhile, the natural environment is sending unmistakable warnings. Glaciers are melting; oceans are becoming dangerously acidic; species and their ecological services are becoming extinct; and weather patterns are becoming increasingly severe and unpredictable each year. The stress on resource systems of all kinds threatens to shrink the carrying capacity of the planet, even as we call upon it for increased contributions to support a burgeoning human population.

"Co-written by an ecologist ad an economist, Economics and Ecology: United for a sustainable World counsels the replacement of symptomatic thinking with a systemic worldview that treats the environment and the economy as an ecosystemic unit. The first par of the book establishes the methodological and biophysical principles needed to develop the concept of socioeconomic sustainability. The second part of the book examines the misuse of economics in the service of what increasingly appears to be a ruinous pursuit of material wealth and expansion. The third part offers advice on reconciling economics and ecology by proposing an economics in which the principles employed are aligned with the biophysical principles of ecology.

"This timely volume put forth a sustainable worldview based on systemic thinking, with the emphasis more on what and how people think than on what they do. A unique reference for professional and laypersons alike, it can also serve as a supplementary classroom text for student of economics, ecology, biology, and environmental science."

Publisher's description
CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.


"Nature and people are being brutally lambasted all over the planet. Recent torrential rains forced the evacuation of 400,000 Japanese citizens, and the severity of the U.S. drought, which has not only laid waste to millions of bushels of corn and soybean, it's now threatening water flow of the mighty Mississippi River.

"The worldwide economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.

"Russ Beaton and Chris Maser have produced a powerful new book entitled Economics & Ecology: United for a Sustainable World, which I believe should be required reading for all college freshmen. It is a blueprint to ensure that our species thrives in the 22nd century.

"Beaton an economist and Maser an ecologist draw upon over 9 decades of global experience and wisdom to present a detailed plan reuniting economics and ecology; it's well-explained and rich with examples.

"The natural world is upside down. It is very apparent that the days of pitting the economy versus the environment are numbered. The Greek root of each word oikos means house. Ecology is the knowledge of understanding the house whilst economics is the knowledge of managing the house.

"Our natural environment and the resource base for the world economy are inexorably linked. Therefore these two crucial parts must come together for the house to remain standing, as our species is now heading toward 8 billion by 2025.

"Beaton and Maser provide a systemic examination of the living world, and a necessary economic roadmap towards a sustainable future for the human race.

"Presently, worldwide economic growth is unsustainable because the natural resource base has been significantly depleted. For instance, many of the world's commercial fish stocks are nearing extinction from 150 years of over-harvesting. No amount of government subsidies (or erroneously blaming whales) will change this fact. On the other hand, the scientific knowledge and a quarter of century of data to validate it, says we must now place 50 percent of the world's oceans into 'no-take zones,' so that over the next 25 years the oceans can replenish themselves to feed 9 billion people by 2043.

"It is time to recognize that nature is a flawless system that creates no waste. Each year in the U.S. we truck 251 million tons of trash to landfills. To put that enormous number into perspective, the average blue whale —the largest mammal on Earth—weighs far in excess of 100 tons. We are throwing away at least 6,750 blue whales worth of garbage every single day. Landfills contaminate ground water. In a warming world, fresh water is very precious and must be safeguarded.

"Economics emphases efficiency, yet nature is effective not efficient. For instance, pines (and other wind-pollinated trees) expend a tremendous amount of nitrogen—the most limiting plant element, to make pollen. It takes vast amounts of pollen to fertilize enough pine seeds to perpetuate the genus. An economist might criticize this as highly inefficient, however every grain of pollen, which isn't used towards fertilization, is an exceedingly rich source of nutrition consumed holus bolus by a variety of critters and organisms. There is no waste whatsoever in nature.

"In order to achieve a sustainable world there are 15 inviolable biophysical constraints. These are nature's rules of engagement, crucial for survival of both the wild kingdom and the human race.

"Externalities including global warming and pollution must be factored into a worldwide sustainable economy. The solution to pollution is not dilution. It is time for economists to embrace uncertainty not dismiss it. In so doing, economists will work with climate and biological scientists, together addressing the uncertainties of global climate change—because world food supplies are at risk.

"A triple bottom line, which acknowledges that the planet is a living trust and that we are merely stewards for future generations, is a requisite standard for all businesses, worldwide. Continuous growth or the growth ethic is impossible to sustain. Beaton and Maser rightfully contend that it be removed from mainstream economic thought.

"Humans are exceptional problem solvers. Our ability to successfully navigate the global change ahead will rely upon: Ecological integrity and social equity harnessing updated principles of economics to ensure a healthy, viable future for humankind."

Dr. Reese Halter
Huffinton Post
(Return to Top of Page)


Purchase Information: