Chapter 8 - Economics



Chapter 8 – Economics

So far we have covered issues relating to sustainability and how an engineer can implement their skills within society to work towards sustainable systems. In each of the chapters there has been a common theme as to the cause of the unsustainable systems – the constant drive by society for economic growth.

This chapter is therefore intended to explain where economic growth comes from, to discuss different understandings of it in economics and what problems it causes. We will also introduce "ecological economics” which is a concept system that recognises problems with the current system and seeks solutions to them within the bio-physical carrying capacity of the planet. Ecological economics takes many of its ideas from the mainstream subject but with important differences which we will highlight.

Economics, in parallel with environmental and social factors is a cornerstone of the sustainability triangle. The reason for including a chapter on economics in this module is so that engineers can understand the driving forces affecting macro scale social organisation in order to better help contribute to a sustainable future.

The following essay was written by Brian Davey, an Ecological Economist based in Nottingham and is published with a creative commons license.