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Commentary: cowboys, cornucopians and long-run sustainability

Author: Ayres, Robert U. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political Science Series: Working Paper ; 93/10/EPS Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Centre for the Management of Environmental and Social Responsibility (CMER) 1993.Language: EnglishDescription: 27 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: In the 1970s there was a lively debater on the relationship between natural resource availability and long-run economic growth. One side has been characterized as "neo-Malthusian". It emphasized the limited global "stockpile" of critical natural resources, from cobalt to petroleum, and the need to curb population and economic growth. The other side of the debate has been characterized as "cornucopian". It emphasized the creative powers of technology and free-markets to find substitutes for any and all scarce resources. This paper argues that the original dichotomy was false. It did not adequately represent either the real positions of most conservative business and political leaders today. Nor did it reflect the currently emerging consensus among environmentalists..
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In the 1970s there was a lively debater on the relationship between natural resource availability and long-run economic growth. One side has been characterized as "neo-Malthusian". It emphasized the limited global "stockpile" of critical natural resources, from cobalt to petroleum, and the need to curb population and economic growth. The other side of the debate has been characterized as "cornucopian". It emphasized the creative powers of technology and free-markets to find substitutes for any and all scarce resources. This paper argues that the original dichotomy was false. It did not adequately represent either the real positions of most conservative business and political leaders today. Nor did it reflect the currently emerging consensus among environmentalists..

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