Rediscovering Sustainability: Economics of the Finite Earth

Foreword

With their book Rediscovering Sustainability: Economics of the Finite Earth, Wiebina and Aart Heesterman are making one of the greatest contributions to a debate that is addressing nothing less than the very survival of Mankind.

There is no doubt that, leaving armed conflicts aside, the most pressing worry for the current civilization is how to deal with growing demands for a higher living standard for the present generation. This includes an adequate supply of food for every inhabitant of our planet, and at the same time taking care that in order to fulfil these aspirations, our resources are used in a manner that does not risk the wellbeing of succeeding generations.

More efficient agriculture, sustainable use of water resources, renewable energy systems, food security and climate change, among others, are all subjects that the authors address with a down-to-earth focus, proposing many meaningful economics initiatives. The challenges facing the world today and the solutions for dealing with these issues are addressed particularly well in Part III where the title says it all: Present affluence versus the future.

In the three chapters included in this section, plus the final one that surveys the relationship between efficient technologies and social realities, Wiebina and Aart Heesterman discuss the capability of a market-orientated system of economic management to facilitate the transition to climate sustainability. They also examine the validity of using cost benefit analysis to assess long term environmental processes and the real meaning and consequences of continued economic growth. The authors not only ask the questions related to these issues but they also provide us with valuable solutions that it will be up to the policy makers to implement.

This book is about producing an outcome which, as a former Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Chile, I would like very much to see, for the sake of the entire world.

Professor Reinaldo Ruiz, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Chile,
currently Professor of Economics at Talpa University.