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Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis

ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS ELSEVIER Ecological Economics 15 (1995) 115-118 Forum Manfred Max-Neef Rector, Austral University of Chile, Valdivia, Chile Keywords: Economic growth; Quality of life; Inverted U-shaped curves 1. Opening remarks i The inverted U-shaped curves that presumably result from the observation that " a s income goes up there is an increasing environmental degradation up to a point, after which environmental quality improves" [as quoted in Arrow et al. (1995) article] seem to be merely anecdotes that don't make history. What I mean is that although anecdotes can be true and elucidating, they are normally too limited in scope and content to allow for the construction of generalizations that may serve as existential, or policy, guidelines. The curves in reference, as pointed out in Arrow et al., have been shown to apply only in the case of some very selected pollutants and actions involving local short-term costs, such as improvement of sanitation and water supplies, reduction of suspended particulates, and control of SO 2 and CO. The fact that reduction of resource stocks, across-border transfer of pollutants, accumulation of stocks of waste, and dissemination of pollutants with long-term and global effects do not comply with the shape of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Economics Elsevier

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