Sunday, January 21, 2007

Are there really $5 bills on the sidewalk?

On Monday, in class, we will be talking about the relationship between the economy and the environment. Many have argued that protecting the environment hurts the economy - not Michael Porter . Additionally, Al Gore was just up at the HBS talking about his take on the economy - environment relationship. What do you think?

10 comments:

Whitney Dickson said...

A healthy economy requires the constructive allocation of resources. As the holder of our resources, the environment becomes a precious entity that requires protection. Because of this relationship, I don't think saving the environment is detrimental to the economy. If our goal maintain a stable economy in the long-run, then we must have a healthy environment to do so.

Anonymous said...

I think people just look at the consequences associated with protecting the environment, see the financial costs to production, industry, etc., and assume that means that these costs will "hurt the economy." What they fail to take into account is everything else that constitutes/promotes/preserves the economy! Like Whitney said, we need natural and environmental resources to be able to produce long into the future. I think that it is completely false to say that protecting environmental quality will hurt the economy...regardless of how you feel about environmental protection... what these people really mean to say is that environmental protection will "hurt short-run production in the economy." While that point can be argued either way, it is imperative that the average citizen start separating short-run effects from long-term implications.

Martha

Hartley said...

In addition to what Whitney said, I think that a healthy environment promotes a healthy and growing economy. Like the textbook said, a healthy environment leads to better health of soil to grow crops and health of the labor force. A healthy environment is an important part of growth in the economy.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the major shortcomings of the free market system is the preoccupation of short-term profits, which ignores long-term sustainability. Al Gore is doing a good job of proliferating his views, but our economy needs more time to catch up to these 'new' ways of thinking. The Porter hypothesis is an appropriate way to focus on the long-term, but it will only effect politics if more economists believe in it.

Susan

sarah tilbor said...

I agree with what Susan said. It reminds me of the stubborness of the US, refusing to use the metric system (although it's on a different scale). The short term costs are overwhelming, and annoying. But, in the long term, the benefits would be well beyond the costs.
sarah tilbor

Lucinda Sardinha said...

I agree that the most important factor is change our philosophy toward the Earth!

Jamie Mallinson said...

I like Gore's idea of there being no "silver bullet" that technology will provide at some point in the future to put an end to all our environmental problems. The problems need to be dealt with gradually and over time, and we need to start dealing with them now.

Anonymous said...

Taking care of the Enviorment is good for buisness:
Wait a minute; with this whole argument are we admitting that the market incentives are not enough to bring about the most increase in productivity. In the PB example given in class, were the losses avoided by meeting the keyoto standards an example of the enviorment increasing productivity or a faliure of managment to introduce this cost cutting policies in the first place?
Adolfo

Anonymous said...

I think that one of Gore's most important points was that if we don't figure out techniques for saving the environment now things are bound to be worse in the future. Although he mentioned that the birth-rate and death-rate are starting to level off this does not mean that the world population is going to come to some standstill. More people will come to populate the earth and live longer and have the ability to pollute more than any of us is even capable of polluting now if the proper 'green' or environmental friendly actions are not taken.
Dave

Kris Brake said...

One major problem I see, and that Mr. Gore touched on is our over-reliance on technology and those in power. We feel that it is the politicians' and the scientists job to figure out a solution to our problem. If everyone were more conscious about how they treated the environment we could make significant steps in the right direction. However, this is too idealistic and we need the government to give us incentives to act in a particular way. I notice at W&L, and all college atmospheres we are not doing our part. How many trashbags full of beer cans are taken to the dump every morning? How many road trips do we take driving our SUVs? I know this is just a small scale analysis and there are bigger players in the equation. I do think that it can make a difference.