Chapter

Ecological Debt—The Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren

Andrew Simms

in Sovereign Debt at the Crossroads

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168006
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783458 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195168003.003.0005
 Ecological Debt—The Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren

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This chapter broadens the analysis of sovereign debt by incorporating ecological concerns. Centuries of consumption of the natural resources of the developing world by the developed world, resources that in many cases were acquired illegally or by force, have produced what is describes as an ecological debt of the rich countries to the poor countries. The imbalance in resource consumption helps explain the dramatic divergence in income levels between rich nations and poor nations that has occurred since the early 20th century. It is argued that there is a sustainable equilibrium in the use of the world's natural resources — clean air, fresh water, timber, and petroleum. The wealthy nations of the world have upset that equilibrium at the expense of the poor — taking more than their share of the goods while inflicting the costs of resource depletion and pollution on the poor.

Keywords: sovereign debt; resource consumption; ecological concerns; pollution; imbalance; rich nations; poor nations; natural resources

Chapter.  12135 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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