An outdated economic blueprint

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Written by Gardner and Prugh

In Smith's and Ricardo's time, nature was perceived as a huge and seemingly inexhaustible resource:  global population as roughly 1 billion and extractive and productive technologies were far less powerful and environmentally invasive.

     But the assumed independence of economic activity from nature, always illusory, is simply no longer credible. Global population has expanded more than sixfold since 1800 and the gross world product more than 58-fold since 1820 (the first year for which 19th century data are available.  As a result, humanity's impact on the planet--its "ecological footprint"--exceeds Earth's capacity to support the human race sustainably.

Gary Gardner and Thomas Prugh, State of the World 2008, pp.4-5.

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