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Evolving Ethos

R. Rajamani

Edited by Kanchan Chopra and Vikram Dayal
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 325, RS.850


This is a very important volume for all the students and scholars interested in the field of Environmental Economics as it is a compendium of articles by eminent persons in the field, who have dealt with the theory and practice of the subject. Insofar as the coverage of the practice is concerned, the volume is of use to policy makers and even laymen who are keen to know more about the state of natural resources, the manner in which they are sought to be valued, the economic instruments that may help in their sustainable development and the related issues of equity, human welfare, science and technology, national and international endeavour in pollution abatement, etc. The overview chapter with which the book begins mentions that environmental economics extends to areas of economics which should be more appropriately named as ‘Environmental and Resource Economics’ as both resources used in production and the impacts on environment by way of pollution are two sides of the same coin. This introduction sets the tone for the rest of the chapter and even of the whole compilation. The editors cover the origins of this discipline in Economic Theory and ongoing Developments, Environmental resources and developmental concerns with focus on Land and Water, Valuation and Accounting with an understanding of the non-market nature of environmental resources, Energy and industry and international concerns in Trade and Environment. The editors make the distinction between the analysts and the activists in the field of Environment and the manner in which policy makers can tune their responses to the challenges. They recognize that this subdiscipline of Economics (as they call it) cannot solve the ‘environmental problem’ and guide policies involved taking a holistic view based on economics, ethics, law, sociology and physical sciences. The erudite chapter on ‘Environmental and Resource Economics—Some recent developments’ by Partha Das Gupta and Karl-Goran Maler deals analytically with Welfare economics of imperfect economies, role of markets in pollution, concept of ‘inclusive wealth’. They examine if the current economic development is sustainable as it is a subject on which there is divergence of opinion and aver that the divergence can be narrowed by adopting an inclusive measure of wealthinstead of only the GNP per head and Human Development Indices. The rural poverty and the local resource base, including the Commons are flagged as issues which link the evolution of the local resources base and the needs ...

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