Population and sustainable development: Distinguishing fact and preference concerning the future human population and environment

Keyfitz N (1993). Population and sustainable development: Distinguishing fact and preference concerning the future human population and environment. Population and Environment 14 (5): 441-461. DOI:10.1007/BF01261110.

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Abstract

The relation of population, environment and economic growth is controversial, with some considering that growth comes at an intolerable expense to the environment, others that the damage to the environment is slight and in any case so far in the future that it does not matter. Scientific evidence on the subject is not the only basis on which people choose sides; major factors are preference for present enjoyment and welfare as against the welfare of children and grandchildren, and the life of cities as against the countryside. The visibility of damage to the environment will sooner or later convince everyone that something must be done. For we can picture a declining marginal enjoyment of goods, and a rising marginal visible damage, two curves that are sure to meet sooner or later, and when they do the public will insist on drastic measures for repair being financed and undertaken. The greater the delay the more expensive the repairs. Beyond cost, the question is whether adequate measures of repair and prevention of further damage will be undertaken before it is too late.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2016 10:14
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2016 10:14
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/12849

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