Reducing Resource Consumption. A Proposal for Global Resource and Environmental Policy

a paper from the Lindau Group 2009 by Paul Ekins, Bernd Meyer and Bio Schmidt-Bleek1. INTRODUCTIONRecently, the world has witnessed how market failures and foresight incompetence impaired the stability of the global financial system and with it the entire economy. Insufficient accounting methods and incomplete early warning systems, missing competence in systems analysis and unwillingness to implement precautionary policies, short-term profit maximization and wrong prices of products were among the key causing factors. As one consequence, even the CEOs of leading financial institutions have called for a framework of rules capable of avoiding a similar disaster in the future. As another, thousands of billions of Euros were committed by governments to limit the potential damage inflicted upon civil society by just one industry.While the ecological crisis does not as yet seem as acutely threatening as the financial disaster, it does have some of the same roots. Here, too, market failures and foresight incompetence, short-term profit maximization and wrong prices of products are among the key causing factors. The current market process itself is thus prominently responsible for the continuing and long-term destruction of the life-sustaining ecosystem services. While the health of the financial system can eventually be restored, this is not possible for lost ecosystem services, putting ultimately into question the very survival of humankind on earth. more 

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