Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Proteção ambiental e crescimento económico

Slow Steaming and the Supposed Limits to Growth, por Paul Krugman:

Environmental pessimism makes strange bedfellows. We seem to be having a moment in which three groups with very different agendas — anti-environmentalist conservatives, anti-capitalist people on the left, and hard scientists who think they are smarter than economists — have formed an unholy alliance on behalf of the proposition that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is incompatible with growing real GDP. The right likes this argument because they want to use it to block any action on climate; some on the left like it because they think it can be the basis for an attack on our profit-oriented, materialistic society; the scientists like it because it lets them engage in some intellectual imperialism, invading another field (just to be clear, economists do this all the time, often with equally bad results.) ...

A few days ago Mark Buchanan at Bloomberg published a piece titled “Economists are blind to the limits of growth” making the standard hard-science argument. And I do mean standard; not only does he make the usual blithe claims about what economists never think about; even his title is almost exactly the same as the classic (in the sense of classically foolish) Jay Forrester book that my old mentor, Bill Nordhaus, demolished so effectively forty years ago. Buchanan says that it’s not possible to have something bigger — which is apparently what he thinks economic growth has to mean — without using more energy, and declares that “I have yet to see an economist present a coherent argument as to how humans will somehow break free from such physical constraints.”

Of course, he’s never seen such a thing because he’s never looked. But anyway, let me offer an example that I ran across when working on other issues.

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