Posts Tagged ‘Silent Spring’
Herman Daly, Ph.D, makes some very powerful points at his keynote address to the AMS workshop on Federal Climate Policy, 13th November, 2007.
Note: This video is only the first 8 minutes from what is clearly a longer address. I have struggled to find the subsequent parts of this address, although there appear to be other versions of the address on YouTube. However, the points raised in these first few minutes are compelling,
- Complexity stifles policy
- The danger of overwhelming the decision of what to do now
- Leave it until it’s perfectly clear and the likelihood is that it will be too late
Herman Daly’s Ecological Economics – An Introductory Note
By John Attarian
Mainstream opinion has it that economic growth, the democratization of affluence, and ever-increasing consumption are the formula for individual and social happiness. A thoughtful and well-informed minority emphatically disagrees. Few have contributed more to this dissent than Herman E. Daly, widely regarded as the founding father of ecological economics.
Born in 1938, Daly earned his B.A. at Rice University (1960) and Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University (1967). From 1968 to 1988 he taught economics at Louisiana State University. Then he served as Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Environmental Department until 1994, when he became a professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, his current position.
As a graduate student, Daly believed that growth would solve mankind’s problems, but three experiences radically transformed his outlook. He studied under the economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1906-1994), whose book The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) explained the decisive economic importance of the second law of thermodynamics (the entropy law) in a closed system, the availability of useful energy always declines. Georgescu-Roegen argued that the economic process transforms natural resources into waste — that is, transforms matter-energy from a state of low entropy into a state of high entropy. Georgescu-Roegen’s great contribution, Daly observes, was “reuniting economics with its biophysical foundations.” Teaching in Brazil in the late 1960s, Daly observed explosive population growth firsthand. Reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was also influential.
Wrong to publish more but if this catches your eye, then the full article is here. Oh, perhaps I can just include the last two paragraphs of John Attarian’s fine piece ….
Daly co-founded the scholarly journal Ecological Economics in 1989 and still serves as an associate editor. His thought is slowly attracting appreciative notice, and some honors have come his way. For the Common Good won the 1991 Grawenmeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order, and in 1996 Daly received the Honorary Right Livelihood Award and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Heineken Prize for Environmental Science.
Integrating theology, ethics, science, and economics, Daly’s ecological economics is the kind of comprehensive vision we too seldom see, and one of the most important and promising intellectual developments of our time. Our selection of Daly’s works is a concise yet comprehensive introduction to his thought. May he find the audience he deserves.