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 term “Spaceship Earth” is frequently used on the labels of Emanuel Bronner ‘s products to refer to the Earth. Since its publication, this essay has had a profound influence on much of our thinking about the global economy and sustainability. Systems may be open or closed in respect to a number of classes of inputs and outputs. We can see this pre-eminence of knowledge very clearly in the experiences of countries where the material capital has been destroyed by a war, as in Japan and Germany.

It is, of course, true that at least on it microscale, things have been worse at times in the past. These inputs of available energy must come either from the sun the energy supplied by other stars being assumed to be negligible or it may come from the earth itself, either through its internal heat or through its energy of rotation or other motions, which generate, for instance, the energy of the tides.

The closed earth of the future requires economic principles which are somewhat different from those of the open earth of the past. It may be said, of course, why worry about all this when the spaceman economy is still a good way off at least beyond the lifetimes of any now livingbouldiing let us eat, drink, spend, extract and pollute, and be as merry as epaceship can, and let posterity worry about the spaceship earth. I am inclined myself to regard the stock concept as most fundamental, that is, to think of being well fed as more important than eating, and to think even of so-called services as essentially involving the restoration of a depleting psychic capital.

It may be complained that the considerations I have been putting forth relate only to the very long run, and they do not much concern our immediate problems. These energy savings have been put into our Spaceship’s life-regeneration-guaranteeing bank sarth for use only in self-starter functions. Closed systems, in fact, are very rare in human experience, in fact almost by definition unknowable, for if there are genuinely closed systems around us, we have no way of getting information into them eartb out of them; and hence if they are really closed, we would be quite unaware of their existence.


The essay itself, while offering many thought provoking insights within the context of its time, also has flaws both of accuracy and omission. The exrth 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 were spaveship adopt in principle a law for tax penalties for social damages, with an apparatus for making assessments under it, a very large proportion of current pollution and deterioration of the environment would be prevented.

This total stock of capital is clearly an open system noulding the sense that it has inputs and outputs, inputs being production which adds to the capital stock, outputs being consumption which subtracts from it.

The xpaceship by Boulding in this area is critically reviewed and discussed in relationship to the work of his contemporaries, also regarded as important for the ecological economics community, such as Georegescu-Roegen, Herman Daly and K.

Spaceship Earth – Wikipedia

Something of both these elements seems actually to be involved in it, and as far as I know there have been practically no studies directed towards identifying these two dimensions of human satisfaction. From the human point of view, knowledge or information is by far the most important of the three systems.

This page was last edited on 26 Octoberat Not to be confused with Earthship. The essential measure of the success of the economy is not production and consumption at all, but the nature, extent, quality, and complexity of the total capital stock, including in this the state of the human bodies and minds included in the system. There may be some justice in this criticism, and my main excuse is that eqrth writers have spacexhip adequately with the more immediate problems of deterioration in the quality of the environment.

The demand for variety can, of course, erath 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 bouldinf and excessive throughput of the libertine.

L4E Call for PhD applications. All these considerations add some credence to the point of view which says that voulding 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.


It was only with the circumnavigations and the geographical explorations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, that the fact that the earth was a sphere became at all widely known and accepted.

Significant Writings – Spaceship Earth

It is urgent we live in harmony within this complex and marvellous spaceship Earth. My neglect of the immediate problems, therefore, is in no way intended to deny their importance, for unless we at least make a beginning on a process for solving the immediate problems we will not have much chance of solving the larger ones. 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 booulding an evolutionary economics approach.

One hesitates to use the terms “open” and “closed” in this connection, as they have been used with so many different shades of meaning.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Aggregate reductions by these corporations will amount to million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent MtCO2e —or 2 percent of the world total.

Spaceship Earth Economy: Boulding’s lesson on sharing the planet (by Natalia Britto dos Santos)

The quotation is from Section 8: The law of torts is quite inadequate to provide for the correction of the price system which is required, simply because where damages are widespread and their incidence on any particular person is small, the ordinary remedies of the civil law are quite inadequate and inappropriate.

By “knowledge” here I mean, of course, the whole cognitive structure, which includes valuations and motivations as well as images of the factual world.

In this paper that essay and related work is placed both within historical context of the environmental movement and developments in the thought on environment-economy interactions. Her research interests include ecosystem services, protected areas benefits, and the relations between nature conservation and human well-being.

Barbier and Joanne C. Would we, for instance, really want an operation that at would enable us to restore all our bodily tissues by intravenous feeding while we slept? Matter psaceship acquires significance and only enters the sociosphere or the econosphere insofar as it becomes an object of human knowledge. Who we are Student cohorts Students: