planet-earth-lowtouch-banner Kenneth E. Boulding () was a British economist, educator, systems scientist and interdisciplinary. “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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Economic Principles for “Spaceship Earth”

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 kebneth, the lakes, or even the spacesship. That is, there was always some place else to go when things got too difficult, either by reason of thc deterioration of the natural environment or a deterioration of the social structure in places where people happened to live.

The knowledge of the people was not destroyed, and it did not take long, therefore, certainly not more than ten years, for most of the material capital to be reestablished again. How much savings justify the expense and risk of new solutions? Not to be confused with Earthship.

The demand for variety can, of course, be costly, and sometimes it seems to be too costly to be tolerated or at least legitimated, as in tile case of marital partners, where the maintenance of a homeostatic state in the family is usually regarded as much more desirable than the variety and excessive throughput of the libertine.

Signatories of the Call to Action committed to defining a circular strategy, setting targets for and reporting on their progress. In advanced societies this is supplemented very extensively by the use of fossil fuels, which represent as it were a capital stock of stored-up sunshine.

The world is a raft sailing through space with, potentially, plenty of provisions for everybody; the idea that we must all cooperate and see to it that everyone does his fair share of the work and gets his fair share of spacesgip provisions seems so blatantly obvious that one would say that no one could possibly fail to accept it unless he had some corrupt motive for clinging to the present system.

John Wiley and Sons, It is always a little hard to find a convincing answer to the man who says, “What has posterity ever done for me?

More information and software credits. If people had to pay the losses due to the nuisances which they create, a good deal more resources would go into the prevention of nuisances.

If we hope to achieve more sustainable economic development, these new economic principles must create sufficient incentives for future expansion in production and consumption, as well as investment decisions, to be decoupled from increased resource use, wasteful production, and pollution.


All these considerations add some credence to the point of view which says that we should not worry about the spaceman economy at all, and that we should just go on increasing the GNP and indeed the gross world product, or GWP, in the expectation that the problems of the future can be left to the future, that when scarcities arise, whether this is of raw materials or of pollutable reservoirs, the needs of the then present will determine the solutions of the then present, and there is no use giving ourselves ulcers by worrying about problems that we really do not have to solve.

Here, priority should be given to ensuring that the rules governing financial systems support investment decisionmaking that accounts for environmental sources of risk and opportunity. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave—to the ancient enemies of man—half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day.

Innovation, technological adoption, and financial investment—led by private enterprise with support from public policy and the right incentives—can launch the spaceship earth on a more sustainable and prosperous path. Who we are Student cohorts Students: Boulding believed that human economic and other behaviours are all embedded in a larger interconnected system.

If we discount our own future, it is certainly not unreasonable to discount posterity’s future even more, even if we do give posterity a vote. Nevertheless, it is hard to find equivalents. His most influential work is the brilliant essay The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earthin which he describes two types of economy: Housing and building construction generally almost certainly has declined in durability since the Middle Ages, but this decline also reflects a change in tastes towards flexibility and fashion and a need for novelty, so that it is not easy to assess.

Subscribe to Resources Magazine Sign up to receive each new issue of Resources via email. Initial work by MacArthur, McKinsey, and others has been followed by initiatives from the apparel industry. Also inKenneth E. For example, in a survey of 36 global financial institutions by the Finance Initiative of the UN Environment Programme, 75 percent stated that they monitor environmental risks to transactions, and 42 percent accounted explicitly for such risks in their credit assessments.

Some isolated primitive societies may have approximated to this, but even these had to take inputs from the environment and give outputs to it. There are some systems — such as the biological phenotype, for instance the human body– which cannot maintain themselves indefinitely by inputs and outputs because of the phenomenon of aging.

This brings out the facts that Boulding did not pursue his environmental concerns, wrote little on the subject, had a techno-optimist tendency, disagreed with his contemporaries and preferred to develop an evolutionary economics approach. As Richard Meier has suggested, we may run our machines in the future with methane-producing algae.

Piloting “Spaceship Earth” into a Circular Economy

This whole problem is linked tip with the much larger one of the determinants of the morale, legitimacy, and “nerve” of a society, and there is a great deal of historical evidence to suggest that a society which loses its identity with posterity and which loses its positive image of the future loses also its capacity to deal with present problems, and soon falls apart.


Boulding was a British economist, educator, systems scientist and interdisciplinary philosopher.

Spencer Banzhaf Environmentalism in the United States historically has been divided into two camps: We are now in the middle of a long process of transition in the nature of the image which man has of himself and his environment. The American Indians on reservations provide another example of such degradation of the information and knowledge system.

Envisioning a sustainable world — Donella Meadows by Lindsay Barbieri. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. According to McKinsey, clothing production has doubled between and Is Water Innovation the Starting Point?

I suspect that we have underestimated, even in our spendthrift society, the gains from increased durability, and that this might very well be one of the places where thc price system needs correction through government-sponsored research and development.

Boulding presents his main argument based on thermodynamics principles, and discusses closed X open systems bouldig matter, energy and knowledge.

Courtesy of Dow Water and Process Solutions. From the point of view of the energy system, the econosphere involves inputs of available energy in the form, say, of water power, fossil fuels, or sunlight, which are necessary in order to create the material throughput and to move matter from spaceshkp noneconomic set into the economic set or even out of it again; and energy itself is given off by the system in a less available form, mostly in the form of heat.

Piloting “Spaceship Earth” into a Circular Economy – Artemis Water Strategy

He wrote, “I am tempted to call the open economy the ‘cowboy economy,’ the cowboy being symbolic of the illimitable plains and also associated with reckless, exploitative, romantic, and violent behavior, which is characteristic of open societies. Material entropy can be taken as kenneyh measure of the uniformity of the distribution of elements and, more uncertainly, compounds and other structures on the earth’s surface.

She harked back to images kennetth ships: The structure and composition of all organization or society, however, can be maintained by inputs of fresh personnel from birth and education as the existing personnel ages and eventually dies. If we add another 5 per cent for uncertainty, even the vote of our grandchildren reduces almost to insignificance. Even now we are very far from having made the moral, political, and psychological adjustments which are implied in this transition from the illimitable plane to the closed sphere.