Library Open Repository

How economic growth becomes a cost: The scarcity multiplier

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

Smith, PE (2009) How economic growth becomes a cost: The scarcity multiplier. Ecological Economics, 68. pp. 710-718. ISSN 0921-8009

[img] PDF
Paul_Smith.pdf | Request a copy
Full text restricted
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

Abstract

Competent macro-allocation of natural capital would allow micro-allocation by economics to be fully useful and may help prevent the latter being confused with the former. This macro-allocation requires social choice, so to see whether it is likely to be competent the effectiveness of democratic politics is investigated. Dysfunction is predicted because democratic institutions produce elements of irresponsibility and ignorance. These permit inflation of want by supply (IWS), a positive feedback in which wants are increased by their supply, provoking more supply, hence more want. Four IWS systems combine under common conditions to indefinitely escalate the scarcity of natural capital, a crucial failure of macro-allocation. This ‘scarcity multiplier' causes apparently rational attempts to satisfy a few wants to exacerbate many, increasing dissatisfaction. Institutions for deliberative public participation may enable democracies to recognize and control IWS. Unless this is done the scarcity multiplier may make cost-benefit analysis misleading: it may make the costs of development projects exceed their benefits in proportion to their financial success.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Natural capital Population Contingency of preferences Cost-benefit analysis Macro-allocation
Journal or Publication Title: Ecological Economics
Page Range: pp. 710-718
ISSN: 0921-8009
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.05.024
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2010 06:49
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:11
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/9928
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Repository Staff Only (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page