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A Poverty of Reason: Sustainable Development and Economic Growth

By: Wilfred Beckerman

Independent Institute

Paperback | Dec 2002 | #162607 | ISBN: 0945999852
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NHBS Price: £26.50 $33/€31 approx

About this book

In this detailed economic investigation of sustainable development, a noted professor of economics argues that many of the alarms commonly sounded by environmentalists are, in fact, unfounded, and that current sustainable development policies should be reconsidered in light of their effects on the earth's human population, such as increased poverty and environmental degradation in developing countries. In a rare balanced counterpoint to popular sustainable development rhetoric, Professor Beckerman forces policy makers to consider whether future generations have rights that morally constrain and trump the claims of those alive today, particularly the masses of people living in dire poverty, arguing that the current sustainable development program is a menace to the prosperity and freedom of both current and future generations.

Sustainable development has become a shield for special-interest arguments. Beckerman's careful critique points out [its] crucial ethical and economic shortcomings. -- P.J. Hill, chair of economics, Wheaton College. "Advocates of 'sustainable development' are unlikely to be convinced by all these claims; but they will learn a great deal." -- Cass R. Sunstein, Distinguished Service Professor, law school and department of political science, University of Chicago. "Anyone who believes that 'sustainable development' is a meaningful intellectual construct needs to read this clear and concise book." -- Robert Nelson, professor of public affairs, University of Maryland. "We now have an excellent book which carefully examines [the philosophical and scientific underpinnings of 'sustainable development.']" -- Donald H. Stedman, professor of chemistry, University of Denver. "Wilfred Beckerman brings wisdom and wit to his examination of major themes found in today's environmental policy." -- Bruce Yandle, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Economics, Clemson University.

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Wilfred Beckerman, an economist and Emeritus Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford University, has served on Britain's Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and chaired the Academic Panel of Economists for the UK Department of the Environment from 1991 to 1996. He is the author of In Defence of Economic Growth, Small Is Stupid: Blowing the Whistle on the Green, Through Green-Colored Glasses: Environmentalism Reconsidered, and Justice, Posterity, and the Environment.

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