Biophysical economics

Bottleneck: Humanity's Impending Impasse

Publication date:
2009-06-01
First published in:
book
Authors:
William Catton
Abstract:

Ecological roots of our troubled time are deeper than its economic manifestations. Anguished posterity will look back on this 21st century as “the bottleneck century.” Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse was written to show how and why three converging trends have put humankind in much deeper peril than is generally acknowledged. First, there are many more of us inhabiting this planet than it can sustain. Second, technological advances of recent centuries have made gigantic and prodigal our per capita resource appetites and our per capita environmental impacts. Third, even though, as the symbol-using species, we humans conceivably could do better at anticipating future circumstances and planning ahead, our evolutionary heritage together with unanticipated dysfunctions of modern division of labor have kept us too preoccupied with short-term concerns. People today are dependent upon a fantastically intricate web of exchange relations (“the market”). Even when functioning normally—and not in a collapsed condition, as currently—this system of relations has a serious and pervasive dehumanizing effect not adequately discerned by economists nor sociologists. Recognition of and adequate adaptation to the deteriorating ecological context of human life has been impeded. Human societies (even our own) are almost certainly going to act in ways that will make an inevitably difficult future unnecessarily worse. Factors analyzed in this book have made people seriously averse to the kind and extent of cooperation our difficult future will require. Together with the basic trio of disturbing trends—humans having become so numerous, so ravenous, and so short-sighted—this has made the nature of today’s human prospect far more dire than most policymakers dare admit. It tempts even the wisest and most civic-minded to seek or promote “remedial” policies that will worsen the real predicament.

This book is a sequel to the Overshoot and continues the reasoning. A more comprehensive review can be found here

Available from: Amazon Online

Estimating the Total Quantity of Energy Consumed by the Carousel Center in the Year 2000

Publication date:
2003-04-24
First published in:
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Authors:
Jeff Pacelli et al
Abstract:

We calculated the total quantity of energy required to produce an ESF graduate based on the energy costs associated with on and off campus activities in 2001. We identified and analyzed four components of the ESF energy budget: direct on-site energy; indirect energy in supplies, equipment, and new construction; energy in transportation of students, faculty, and staff, including daily commute and field trips/research; and maintenance metabolism, including energy use in food consumption, residence utilities, and student spending. We determined the energy cost per student in 2001 and multiplied this annual cost by the average time it takes to earn an ESF diploma to generate the energy cost per graduate. Direct energy on-site use was obtained through the ESF Physical Plant. Indirect energy, energy in transportation, and energy for maintenance metabolism was calculated using a campus wide survey and estimated energy intensities of specific goods and services. The average ESF graduate uses 1.15 TJ in pursuit of their degree. Energy analyses can be useful tools to understand total facility energy costs and can also serve in developing energy conservation initiatives.

Published in: Environmental study from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2003
Available from: http://www.esf.edu/spotlight/2003/es.htm#Anchor-ESTIMATING-14210

The Need for a New, Biophysical-Based Paradigm in Economics for the Second Half of the Oil Age

Publication date:
2006-11-24
First published in:
International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research
Authors:
C.A.S. Hall & K. Klitgaard
Abstract:

The realization that the conceptual base for much of conventional economics is quite flimsy
is no longer news to either those who follow events within the field or to many interested
outsiders in the natural sciences. For an easy example, since 1998 a surprisingly large
number of Nobel Laureates in economics (Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Daniel
Kahneman, Robert Aumann, Thomas Schelling, and Amartya Sen) were people whose
worked challenged, in various very fundamental ways, the basic existing paradigm of
conventional neoclassical economics...

Published in: International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research Vol. 1, No. 1, 2006
Available from: see below

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The Myth of Sustainable Development: Personal Reflections on Energy, its Relation to Neoclassical Economics, and Stanley Jevons

Publication date:
2004-06-01
First published in:
Journal of Energy Resources Technology
Authors:
Charlie A.S. Hall
Abstract:

Abstract not available

Published in: Journal of Energy Resources Technolology, June 2004, Volume 126, Issue 2
Available from: ASME Digital Library

The End of Faith-based Economics

Publication date:
2008-02-01
First published in:
Nature
Authors:
J. Gowdy et al

Modeling Physical Realities at the Whole Economy Scale

Publication date:
2004-12-01
First published in:
Economics of Industrial Ecology: Materials, Structural Change, and Spatial Scales
Authors:
B. Foran & F. Poldy
Abstract:

Published in: ‘Economics of industrial ecology’. (Eds J. C. J. M. van den Bergh and M. A. Janssen.) pp. 165–194. (MIT Press: Cambridge.)
Available from: see below

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