Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2005-15


Economic growth and environmental protection: A clarification about neoclassical economics.




Whitehead, J; Lipton, D; Lupi, F; Southwick, R


Fisheries 30(4):32-34


A recent article (Czech et al. 2004) and the "economic growth forum" series of articles (Czech and Pister 2005) in Fisheries consider the relationship between economic growth and environmental protection, specifically fish conservation. These articles highlight an important social concern: the unfettered pursuit of profit by business firms will lead to the degradation of the environment and the overuse of natural resources, including fisheries. Czech and Pister claim that main- stream economists ignore the problem: "Neoclassical economists, micro and macro, typically opine that there is no practical limit to economic growth and, as a corollary, no inevitable conflict between economic growth and environmental pro- tection (including fish and wildlife conservation)." As neoclassical economists, we take issue with this statement and would like to address the possible mispercep- tion among fisheries professionals about the appropriate role of economists and economics in the allocation of scarce fishery resources.

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