The Gaia Atlas of Green Economics

Paul Ekins, Author, Robert J. Hutchinson, With, Mayer Hillman, With
Paul Ekins, Author, Robert J. Hutchinson, With, Mayer Hillman, With Anchor Books $16 (191p) ISBN 978-0-385-41914-7
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The authors take on a formidable task: to integrate ``the ethical, social, ecological, and economic dimensions of human experience'' in order to expose flaws in current economics and address global crisis. Fortunately, British economist Ekins and his coauthors (both at the Policy Studies Institute in London) have produced a valuable, information-packed book, filled with charts and illustrations. Green economics is not value-free: its objectives include the elimination of poverty and the maintenance of the economy at its optimal ecological size. Because increasing national income can actually hide the fact that a society is becoming worse off, the authors argue for new measuring techniques accounting for social and organizational capital and environmental costs. The book addresses an enormous range of issues, including development aid, transport and health policies and company accountability. While many of the arguments are compelling and reforms such as 64 ecological accounting already have been adopted in Western Europe, others, such as a recommended shift from income taxes to resource taxes, 151 are debatable. Moreover, the authors hardly address the link between economic systems and a nation's culture, leaving their citations of Japanese progress open to question. (Mar.)
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