ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Helmut HaberlSubscribe to Helmut Haberl

Ecological Embeddedness of the Economy

This paper analyses the development of humanity's economic activities from 1700 to 2000 based on a socioecological perspective. The global growth of human population and production in terms of monetary flows (GDP) are complemented with data that demonstrate the ecological "embeddedness" of human economic activities. The article assembles data drawn from the literature and from unpublished work to draw a first, still sketchy, picture of major trends during the last 300 years. The analysis is based on three global regions, the industrial core, east Europe and the former Soviet Union and the developing countries. The analysis is based on the socio-economic metabolism concept, in particular material and energy flow accounting. The findings suggest that resource constraints as well as limits to the capacity of the biosphere to safely absorb emissions and waste will not permit a global transition towards the industrial society according to the pattern currently observable in the industrial core.

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