Economic Growth and Environmental Quality

  • Horst Siebert


Ecologists believe that one of the important reasons for the existence of the environmental problem stems from the emphasis on growth by the industrialized states. They point out that growth has been possible only at the expense of the environment. Ecologists postulate that growth rates were so high because the wastes and pollutants from production and increased consumption had been unscrupulously released into the environment without consideration of their effects. The destruction of the environment, the impairment in the quality of elemental environmental services, the deterioration of air quality, and the contamination of seas, rivers, and lakes were not taken into account in economic calculations. The loss and deterioration of important environmental goods went relatively unnoticed. In sum, the social costs of growth were not included in economic analyses. We have, so to speak, grown to the detriment of the environment. These arguments lead to the following questions: By which indicators should growth be measured? Does a halt in growth present a convenient measure for the improvement of environmental quality? What are the effects of economic growth on environmental quality? To what extent is economic growth restricted by a limited supply of natural resources?


Economic Growth Environmental Quality Capital Stock Capital Formation Resource Stock 
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  1. 1.
    Compare equation 13.2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    As a limiting extreme case, the curves could be suppressed to such an extent that the steady state would lie in the origin.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Krelle (1984, 1985 ) has developed the concept of a survival corridor for a society depending on the savings and the research ratio. Savings is instrumental in building the capital stock, research competing with savings and capital accumulation) is instrumental in substituting the natural resource. This concept should be extended to include environmental constraints.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Horst Siebert
    • 1
  1. 1.Kiel Institute of World EconomicsKiel 1Germany

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