5. Blueprint for a Green Economy: David Pearce, Anil Markandya, Edward Barbier 1989

Section
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
Chapter
1.3 Books
Page
1.3.5

Kerryn Higgs and others see growth as the ultimate problem for the environment, as well as the absolute core of the capitalist machine; so much so that no amount of tinkering will make it ‘work’ for a healthy, diverse and sustainable future. By contrast, Pearce et. al. believe that it can be changed, can be rebuilt properly to account for the environment, and in doing so the environment will be protected through its proper inclusion in this most powerful of processes.

As I am in the Higgs and Heinberg (see ‘Articles’ # 8) camps, it seems strange that I would include a book that is in contradiction to this, but it is such a clever little book, and provides such insight into how the modern economy works and could be improved for the environment, that I think it is well worth including.

The work is a small paperback, but is so full of information and written in such a direct, no-nonsense style, that it packs a great deal into its 185 pages. Chapters on ‘The Meaning of Sustainable Development’ and ‘Valuing the Environment’ are particularly illuminating, with the former supported by an annex at the back – ‘A Gallery of Definitions’ – that highlights just how slippery this term can be.

Ultimately, the book leads to the so-common environmental debate (regardless of topic), of: Is the bird in the hand worth two in the bush? Or put another way for this specific topic, is it worth, or possible, sufficiently to improve capitalism to protect the environment, or is it a dead end and we would be better off to design something entirely different? After reading Blueprint one almost believes it could or should be possible, such is its clarity and intelligence – but? This debate is the at the heart of economist Yanis Varoufakis’ latest book ‘Another Now’, and we will continue this debate in Section 9. ‘Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems’.

 

1 Pearce, D. et. al. 1989. Blueprint for a Green Economy. Earthscan Publications, London, UK.

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