The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future
Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future, Michael Jacobs, Massachusetts: Pluto Press, 1991), 304 pp.
The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future is an examination of the objectives of sustainable development, a programme to achieve these objectives and a method for measuring its effectiveness.
The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future will be of interest to those who desire an understanding the complexities of the attainment of sustainable development. This work is divided into four parts, the first of which is an analysis the relationship among the environment, the economy and politics. The author considers the economy and the environmental crisis, and market forces and environmental degradation. This first part closes with an examination of capitalism, industrialism and so-called 'green politics.' Part two addresses the objectives of the so-called 'Green' economy with two possible definitions: zero growth, or sustainable development. The author examines: the orthodox economist's approach to environmental protection, the meaning of environmental capacity, and environmental efficiency, entropy and energy.
Part three offers a programme for achievement of sustainable development. Following a discussion of planning for sustainability, which "... sets out the broad framework of environmental economic policy-making" the author addresses instruments for environmental protection. These include: environmental taxes, regulations and government expenditure. The author "... looks in more detail at the debate, familiar in environmental economics, between the comparative merits of financial incentives (such as taxes) and the regulatory approach". Also included in this part is the role of government expenditure and the relationship between the integration of social and environmental policy.
The fourth part addresses methods for measurement of the effectiveness of the previously proposed programme. The first two chapters discuss making environmental decisions and: the limits of cost-benefit analysis, and monetary valuation of the environment. The final two considerations of the work are: the measuring of the success of a programme and the relationship between the standard of living and the quality of life.
The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future offers a systematic examination of sustainable development from the conceptual foundations to the evaluation of implementation programmes. The text is clearly written and logically presented.