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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In Adlai Stevenson made a famous speech to the UN in which he said:. However, this is not a task for government alone—as the main players in global markets, large corporations, producers, and investors have the most important economic impact on the environment and face significant risks from increasing ecological scarcity. Joseph Kruger In the face of uncertainty about future policies to address climate change, companies are using internal carbon pricing in their strategic planning to manage regulatory risk and explore future scenarios for potential investments.

It is the information generated within the planet, however, and particularly that generated by man himself, which forms by far the eadth part of the information system. In this view, consumption and production are always good the more the bestand success is measured by the amount of throughput of factors of production. It works effectively at every scale.

The Ecological Economics of Boulding’s Spaceship Earth – ePubWU

The inputs and outputs of information are more subtle and harder to trace, but also represent an open system, related to, but not wholly dependent on, the transformations of matter and energy.

Boulding was a British economist, educator, systems scientist and interdisciplinary philosopher. 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. Spacesip Banzhaf Environmentalism in the United States historically has been divided into two camps: We certainly do not want a constant state to be maintained; we want fluctuations in the state.

In a closed system, the outputs of all parts of the system are spaceehip to the inputs of other parts.

The large energy inputs which we have obtained from fossil fuels are strictly temporary. Given a capacity to draw upon inputs and to get rid of outputs, an open system of this kind can persist indefinitely.

The law of torts is quite inadequate to provide for the correction of the price system which is required, simply because where damages boulidng widespread and their incidence on any particular person is small, the ordinary remedies of the civil law are quite inadequate and inappropriate. We only have one planet to share with all living beings, and all we do depends on what this planet can provide and support.

There are no inputs from outside and no outputs to the outside; indeed, there is no outside at all.

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

We now have the ability and the responsibility to build new bridges of acceptance and co-operation between us, to create a better world for ourselves and our children as we continue our amazing spaecship aboard Spaceship Earth. This whole bouldinf 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.


In perhaps the most famous passage of the essay, Boulding describes the open economy of the past—with its seemingly unlimited resources—and contrasts it with the closed economy of the future.

Not to be confused with Earthship. From a material point of view, we see objects passing from the noneconomic into the economic set in the process of production, and we similarly see products passing out of the economic set as their eart becomes zero. 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.

We can argue, of course, that the ethical thing to do is not to discount thc future at all, that time-discounting is mainly the result of myopia and perspective, and hence is an illusion which the moral man should eartu tolerate.

A machine, for instance, originated in the mind of man, and both its construction and its use involve information processes imposed on the material world by man himself. 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.

Sythoff, Leyden and Oceana, For example, nearly two-thirds of historic carbon dioxide and methane emissions globally can be attributed to just 90 producers of bouldign fuels and cement. According to that report, companies worldwide impose a price on carbon in their internal operations and investment decisions and companies are directly engaging with policymakers in support of carbon pricing legislation.

It is only in very recent times, of course, that the information coming in from the universe has been captured and coded into the form of a complex image of what the universe is like outside the earth; but even in primitive times, man’s perception of the heavenly bodies has always profoundly affected his image of earth and of himself.

By far the larger amount of information and knowledge is self-generated by the human society, though a certain amount of information comes into the sociosphere in the form of light from the universe outside.

Consumers are spending an estimated 60 percent more on clothing and using that clothing for half the time they did 15 years ago.


Oddly enough, it seems to be in pollution rather than in exhaustion that the problem is first kenheth salient. Primitive men, and to a large extent also men of the early civilizations, imagined themselves to be living on a virtually goulding plane.

The main reference made in this regard is to his seminal essay using the metaphor of planet Earth as a spaceship. Housing and building construction generally kennerh 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.

It is a very popular illusion, however, and one that must certainly be taken into consideration in the formulation of policies.

The Ecological Economics of Boulding’s Spaceship Earth

In a country such as Indonesia, however, where the knowledge did not exist, the material capital did not come into being either. The information that comes from the universe has certainly affected man’s image of himself and of his environment, as we can easily visualize if we suppose that we lived on a planet with a total cloud-cover that kept out all information from the exterior universe.

Bouldingwho was influenced by reading Henry George[4] used the phrase in the title of an essay, The Economics of the Coming 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 buolding involving the restoration of a depleting psychic capital.

For other uses, see Spaceship Earth disambiguation. China was perhaps too well-organized and had too little slack in its society to produce the kind of acceleration which we find in the somewhat poorer and less well-organized but more diverse societies of Europe. Failing this, however, the time is not very bouldin distant, historically speaking, when man will once more have to retreat to his current energy input from tile sun, even though this could be used much more effectively bouldingg in bouldiing past with increased knowledge.

Since its publication, this essay has had a profound influence on much of our thinking about the global economy and sustainability.

They receive inputs from the earth, the atmosphere, and the waters, and they give outputs into these reservoirs; they also produce inputs internally in the shape of babies and outputs in the shape of corpses.

That is, there was always some place else to go when bouldng 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.