Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Economics Dept.


Jan Hogendorn

Second Advisor

William B. Miller


Economics deals with wealth, which is essential in allowing people to maintain their activities. Wealth is produced by human effort, guided by science, mediated by technology, governed by the economic system, and exerted through the environment . That a problem exists in our environment is clear from the observable stress on our natural ecosystems. Our water has been fouled, Lake Erie is dead, our air has been sufficiently poisoned in many urban areas to be classified as dangerous to health, and in general there exists the threat that the natural systems which support our lives may collapse. Although certain statistics, such as life expectancy and median income, are used to label man as a healthier creature now than in any other period in his history, he is presently facing his own death. Not only is there room for change, there is need of it, and the direction to be taken is not continued economic growth involving purging of the environment . What is needed is a more settled way of life with a moral code that encompasses not only his relations with other men, but his relations with the land. Man must first acquaint himself with a general view of his own nature, his goals, his values, and the means to obtain his goals and maintain his values. The basis of a value system capable of directing man towards a productive union with nature must reside in a comprehensive examination of his own conception of himself. He has lost sight of his fundamental needs and has become complicated beyond his own understanding.


Environmental policy, United States, Pollution. Economic aspects -- United States, Nature, Effect of human beings on

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