chapter  6
22 Pages

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE LIMITS OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION

The roots of environmental problems, and the failure of environmental regulation, are deeply embedded in the processes that generate economic growth according to arguments and materials presented thus far. The logic of the basic argument presented to this point takes the following form: long-run economic growth relies on the creation of new industries and new forms of economic activity; these new forms of economic activity create new kinds of environmental problems; and new forms of economic activity foster vested political interests that oppose environmental regulation. Previous chapters have addressed the first two components of the argument; the purpose of this chapter will be to address the final component. If it is the case that the economic system automatically creates vested interests opposed to regulation, then one cannot be very optimistic that regulatory processes in their current form will be the answer to our environmental problems.