Kenneth E. Boulding () was a British economist, educator, systems scientist and interdisciplinary philosopher. He graduated from. “Spaceship Earth”: Boulding, Kenneth E.(). Period of local pollution. Period of global ruin of human sustainability. The capability of nature to clean up by. Abstract. The work of Kenneth Boulding is sometimes cited as being foundational to the understanding of how the economy interacts with the.

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The less consumption we can maintain a given state with, the better off we are. The cumulation of knowledge, that is, the excess of its production over its consumption, is the key to human development of all kinds, especially to economic development.

The Ecological Economics of Boulding’s Spaceship Earth – ePubWU

It is urgent we live in harmony within this complex and marvellous spaceship Earth. If the bread and beef above decks seem to grow scarce, we but open a hatch and there is a new supply, of which before we never dreamed.

John Wiley and Sons, For more information about this article and others—including links, interactive features, and references—view Resources online at www. Finally, a sketch is offered of how the ideas in the Spaceship Earth essay relate to current understanding within social ecological economics. The regenerative landscape Archived at obulding Wayback Machine.

Burgess is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming.

There are some systems — such as the biological phenotype, for instance the human body– which cannot maintain themselves voulding by inputs and outputs because of the phenomenon of aging.

Nevertheless, that fouling of the nest which has been typical of man’s activity in the past on a local scale now seems to be extending to the whole world society; and one certainly cannot view with equanimity the present rate of pollution of any of the natural reservoirs, whether the atmosphere, the lakes, or even the oceans. There are problems here which the economics profession has neglected with astonishing singlemindedness.


The development of nuclear energy has improved this picture, but has not fundamentally altered it, at least in present technologies, for fissionable material is still relatively scarce.

Economic Principles for “Spaceship Earth” | Resources for the Future

In such a system all outputs from consumption boulsing constantly be recycled to become inputs for production, as for instance, nitrogen in the nitrogen cycle of the natural ecosystem. Primitive men, and to a large extent also men of the early civilizations, imagined themselves to be living on a virtually illimitable plane. Realizing the benefits of technology spillovers therefore also depends on an important and complementary role for government in supporting private sector initiatives in spafeship innovation.

Failing this, however, the time is not very far distant, historically speaking, when man will once more have to retreat to his current energy input from tile sun, even though this could be used much more effectively than in the past with increased knowledge. The only answer to this, as far as I can see, is to point out that the welfare of the individual depends on the extent to which he can identify himself with others, and that thc most satisfactory individual identity is that which identifies not only with a community in space but also with a community extending over time from the past into the future.

The present world economy is open in regard to all three. Webarchive template wayback links CS1 errors: Policies bboulding Levers These examples epaceship a promising start of a new sustainable earht for the global economy, but more widespread adoption of such initiatives by the private sector is needed. Unless the individual identifies with some community of this kind, conservation is obviously “irrational.

Buckminster Fuller Sustainability Earth Conceptual models. He argues that the Earth of the future inwhich we could say is now the Earth of the present is more similar to a closed system: From a material bolding of view, we see objects passing from the noneconomic into the economic set in the process of production, and we similarly see products passing out of the economic set as their value becomes zero.


This total stock of capital is clearly an open system in the sense that it has inputs and outputs, inputs being production which adds to the capital stock, outputs being consumption which subtracts from it. Is there not, that is spaceshpi say, a certain virtue in throughput itself, in activity itself, in production and consumption itself, in raising food and in eating it?

Even the most optimistic predictions would expect the easily available supply of fossil fuels to be exhausted in a mere matter of centuries at present rates of use.

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Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. This page was last edited on 26 Octoberat Bouldingwho was influenced voulding reading Henry George[4] used the phrase in the title of an essay, The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth.

Thus I have argued that we go to a concert in order to restore a psychic condition which might be called “just having gone to a concert,” which, once established, tends to depreciate. We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.

For other uses, see Spaceship Earth disambiguation. However, this view is not consistent with our reality. The focus on innovation by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, for example, highlights the potential for interaction between the private sector and government. Further interesting problems are raised by the demand for variety.

Economists in particular, for the most part, have failed to come to grips with the ultimate consequences of the transition from the open to the closed earth. Sony Corporation, for example, achieved its target spaceshlp a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from to