chapter  3
11 Pages

The scientific basis of the narrative of societal and ecosystem metabolism

ByMARIO GIAMPIETRO

This chapter uses MuSIASEM to explore the metabolic pattern of rural Punjab, with a special focus on the economic viability and ecological feasibility of the specialization of its economy in food grain production. It shows how remittances from abroad and subsidies from the central government tied to the National Food Security Bill maintain a relatively high per capita income and keep the metabolic pattern of the rural economy of Punjab viable. Relating monetary flows to water and soil use patterns such that the present system of subsidies for electricity and the minimum support price programme regulated by the central government are responsible for the progressive overdraft of aquifers and soil degradation. As in the Punjab state case study, the MuSIASEM toolkit allows us to carry out an effective integrated characterization of the metabolic pattern of a socio-ecological complex across different dimensions and scales. Relevant interrelations between food, energy and water can be identified and explained in relation to institutional settings.