Further Problems with Neoclassical Environmental Economics

Gowdy, John M.; Olsen, Peg R.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/2 (1994), pages 161-171

We examine the merits of neoclassical environmental economics and discuss alternative approaches to it. We argue that the basic assumptions of the neoclassical approach, embodied in the indifference curve, make that model inappropriate for environmental analysis. We begin by assuming that the basic postulates of the neoclassical model hold and then argue that even this ideal state is incompatible with environmental sustainability. We discuss the role of the discount rate, the exclusive emphasis on marginal choices, and the assumption of perfect information.