Economic Sustainability

  • David KraybillEmail author


Lively debate has occurred among environmentalists over the past three decades about whether economic systems can be treated as independent of environmental systems. The mainstream economic view is that man-made inputs and natural resources are highly substitutable through technological innovation, and therefore economic analysis can proceed without reference to environmental stocks and flows. This assumption is increasingly untenable as climate change brings major changes in global and local economies. To meaningfully analyze the sustainability of economic systems, many analysts now use research frameworks that are conceptually rigorous with regard to both economic and natural systems. Understanding the nature and complexity of capital (assets) is an important step in analyzing economic sustainability . Emerging notions of capital toward the end of the 20th century included natural capital . A growing number of environmental analysts are attempting to incorporate these expanded notions of capital into theory and practice. Using the concept of natural capital, it is possible to analyze the sustainability of human and natural systems and to assess the impact of economic activity, including agriculture, on future generations as compared to the present generation. This chapter presents an overview of research approaches that attempt to incorporate both economic and environmental systems for the study of sustainability with a focus on relevance of these methods for the study of African agriculture.


Ecosystem Service Market Failure Natural Capital Emission Trading Scheme Ecological Economic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Innovative Agricultural Research InitiativeMorogoroTanzania

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