Macroecology meets macroeconomics: Resource scarcity and global sustainability

James H. Brown, Joseph R. Burger, William R. Burnside, Michael Chang, Ana D. Davidson, Trevor S. Fristoe, Marcus J. Hamilton, Sean T. Hammond, Astrid Kodric-Brown, Norman Mercado-Silva, Jeffrey C. Nekola, Jordan Okie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current economic paradigm, which is based on increasing human population, economic development, and standard of living, is no longer compatible with the biophysical limits of the finite Earth. Failure to recover from the economic crash of 2008 is not due just to inadequate fiscal and monetary policies. The continuing global crisis is also due to scarcity of critical resources. Our macroecological studies highlight the role in the economy of energy and natural resources: oil, gas, water, arable land, metals, rare earths, fertilizers, fisheries, and wood. As the modern industrial-technological-informational economy expanded in recent decades, it grew by consuming the Earth's natural resources at unsustainable rates. Correlations between per capita GDP and per capita consumption of energy and other resources across nations and over time demonstrate how economic growth and development depend on "nature's capital". Decades-long trends of decreasing per capita consumption of multiple important commodities indicate that overexploitation has created an unsustainable bubble of population and economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume65
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Ecological economics
  • Economic growth
  • Global sustainability
  • Human ecology
  • Macroecology
  • Resource scarcity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Macroecology meets macroeconomics: Resource scarcity and global sustainability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Brown, J. H., Burger, J. R., Burnside, W. R., Chang, M., Davidson, A. D., Fristoe, T. S., Hamilton, M. J., Hammond, S. T., Kodric-Brown, A., Mercado-Silva, N., Nekola, J. C., & Okie, J. (2014). Macroecology meets macroeconomics: Resource scarcity and global sustainability. Ecological Engineering, 65, 24-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2013.07.071