Here is an excerpt from our interview:
“Sustainability” is a hot topic in academic, public policy, and political discussions on economics and the environment. One of your timely topics at Acton University addresses this issue. Can you give us a snapshot of what is meant by “sustainability”?
Sustainability is a problematic term. Its meaning depends on who you are talking to. If you are talking to most economists, it simply means balancing economic and environmental issues. If you are talking to most environmentalists who hold to “deep ecology,” it means socialism to serve the needs of the environment.
Deep ecology is a philosophical view on the environment. It is largely concerned with environmental ethics. More specifically, it argues that only what is good for the environment is good. Mankind is generally viewed in a negative light. In fact, some view man as a disease on the earth that should be culled or eradicated.Most will acknowledge that as an economy grows, that there will be some level of pollution associated with it. The question is, “how much should there be?” Some would say that there should be no pollution at any level, regardless of what this does to economic health and growth. Others will argue that pollution below some level is tolerable. This is where the debate is, how much concern for the environment and how much for the economy.