planet-earth-lowtouch-banner Kenneth E. Boulding () was a British economist, educator, systems scientist and interdisciplinary. “Spaceship Earth”: Boulding, Kenneth E.(). Period of local pollution. Period of global ruin of human sustainability. The capability of nature to clean up by. Abstract. The work of Kenneth Boulding is sometimes cited as being foundational to the understanding of how the economy interacts with the.

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My bpulding of the immediate problems, therefore, is in no way boilding to deny their importance, for unless we at least make a beginning on a process for solving the immediate problems we will not have much chance of solving the larger ones. If we hope to achieve more sustainable economic development, these new economic principles must create sufficient incentives for future expansion in production and consumption, as well as investment decisions, to be decoupled from increased resource use, wasteful production, and pollution.

Here we have an interesting example of a system which seems to maintain itself by the self-generation of inputs, and in this sense is moving towards closure. Government also has a role to play to encourage more widespread bouldin of green financing and investment principles.

The focus on innovation by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, for example, highlights the potential for interaction between the private sector and government. We then think of the state kfnneth the econosphere at any one moment as being the total capital stock, that is, the set of all objects, people, organizations, and so on, which are interesting from the point of view of the system of exchange.

It is a well-provisioned ship, this on which we sail through space. Even the most optimistic predictions would expect the easily available supply of fossil fuels to be exhausted in a mere matter of centuries at present rates of use.

The inputs and outputs of information are more subtle and harder to trace, but also represent an open system, related to, but not wholly dependent on, the transformations of matter and energy. There needs, therefore, to be special legislation to cover those cases, and though such legislation seems hard to get in practice, mainly because of the widespread and small personal incidence of the injuries, the technical problems involved are not insuperable. The gross national product is a rough measure of this total throughput.

If we were to spaaceship in principle a law for tax penalties for social damages, with an apparatus for making assessments under it, a very large proportion of current pollution and eatth of the environment would be prevented. The case of household equipment and automobiles is a little less clear.

As it is knowledge of certain kinds that produces the growth of knowledge in general, we have here a very subtle and complicated system, and it is hard to put one’s finger on the particular elements in a culture which make knowledge grow more or less rapidly, or even which make it decline.


It spaceshi the information generated within the planet, however, and particularly that generated by man himself, which forms by far the larger part of the information system. David Korten would take up the “cowboys in a spaceship” theme in his book When Corporations Rule the World. They have to receive inputs in the kennetb of air, food, water, and give off outputs in the form of effluvia and excrement. One of the great puzzles in this connection, for instance, is why the take-off into science, which represents an “acceleration,” or an increase in the rate of growth of knowledge in European society in the sixteenth century, did not take place in China, which at that time about was unquestionably ahead of Europe, and one would think even more ready for the breakthrough.

This total stock of capital is clearly an open system in the sense that it has inputs and outputs, inputs being production which adds to the capital stock, outputs being consumption which subtracts from it. The essay itself, while offering many thought provoking insights within the context of its time, also has flaws both of accuracy and omission.

Is Water Innovation the Starting Point? Realizing the benefits of technology spillovers therefore also depends on an important and complementary role for government in supporting private sector initiatives in green innovation.

The Ecological Economics of Boulding’s Spaceship Earth

China exrth perhaps too well-organized and had too little slack in its society to produce the kind of acceleration which we find in the somewhat poorer and less well-organized but more diverse societies of Europe.

Increasingly, investors and insurers are requiring better quantitative assessments of environmental risks for investment portfolios —risks arising from climate change, natural resource scarcity, and pollution—and are incorporating these assessments in their long-term investment decisions.

There are actually some very tricky and unsolved problems involved in the questions as to spaceshp human welfare or well-being is to be regarded as a stock or a flow. Nevertheless, it is hard to find equivalents. Humans wouldn’t be able to live in most of the areas where they are living now without knowledge necessary to build life-support systems such as houses, heating, water supply, etc.

In Adlai Stevenson made a famous speech to the UN in which he said:. Large corporations, producers, and investors face significant risks from increasing ecological scarcity.

The image of the frontier is probably one of the oldest images of mankind, and it bohlding not surprising that we find it hard spaceeship get rid of. On the other hand, over a great part of human history, the growth of knowledge in the earth as a whole seems to have been almost continuous, even though there have been times of relatively kejneth growth and times of rapid growth. Joseph Kruger In the face of uncertainty about future policies to address climate change, companies are using internal carbon pricing in their strategic planning to manage regulatory risk and explore future scenarios for potential investments.


Menu Home What is E4A? In such a system all outputs from consumption would constantly be recycled to become inputs for production, as for instance, nitrogen in the nitrogen cycle of the natural ecosystem.

Piloting “Spaceship Earth” into a Circular Economy – Artemis Water Strategy

The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth also presents some interesting reflections about behaviour, society and well-being, including intergeneration issues. This brings out the facts that Boulding did not bouldinb his environmental concerns, wrote little on the subject, had a techno-optimist tendency, disagreed with his contemporaries and preferred to develop an evolutionary economics approach.

Deprivation of the ability to obtain any input or to dispose of any output is fatal in a relatively short time. We are now in the middle of a long process of transition kemneth the nature of the image which man has of himself and his environment.

How much savings justify the expense and risk of new solutions? Her research interests include ecosystem services, protected areas benefits, and the relations between nature conservation and human well-being. Because of this capital stock of energy, we have been able to maintain an energy input into the system, particularly over the last two centuries, much larger than we would have been able to do with existing techniques if we had had to rely on the current input of available energy from the sun or the earth itself.

Spaceship Earth Economy: Boulding’s lesson on sharing the planet (by Natalia Britto dos Santos)

Food Justice Cohort Students: According to McKinsey, clothing production has doubled between and Because banks and investors rely extensively on company disclosures to evaluate environmental risk, a need exists for kennet international approaches with standardized data and risk measures to evaluate environmental impacts and inform decisionmaking. For other uses, see Spaceship Earth disambiguation.

In advanced societies this is supplemented very extensively by the use of fossil fuels, spacehsip represent as it were a capital stock of stored-up sunshine. The quotation is from Section 8: Envisioning a sustainable world — Donella Meadows by Lindsay Barbieri.