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Technology and the environment in the history of the economic thought

Marianna Belloc (), Simone D'Alessandro (), Michele Di Maio (), Francesco Drago and Pietro Vertova

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2008, vol. 8, issue 4, 311-334

Abstract: This paper explores the way the man–nature relationship and the related environmental problems have been dealt along with the history of the economic thought. We discuss a number of different theoretical frameworks (classical, Marxian and neoclassical economics, Georgescu-Roegen's approach and ecological economics) and organise the discussion around the following two crucial points: how the environment influences the economic activity and imposes constraints by means of the scarcity of natural resources; and how the human activity impacts the environment, according to the prevailing technology, and modifies the ecosystem. Throughout this examination, we stress from time to time the role technological progress is found to play according to the various paradigms analysed. Is technological progress always in contrast with environmental sustainability or it may be seen as a tool in the hands of the humankind to make development sustainable?

Keywords: classical economists; ecological economics; energy; economics; environmental economics; history; economic thought; multi-criteria analysis; natural resources; neoclassical economics; new growth theory; sustainable development; technological progress; sustainability; technological progress; environmental technology. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ids:ijgenv:v:8:y:2008:i:4:p:311-334