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National WealthWhat is Missing, Why it Matters$
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Kirk Hamilton and Cameron Hepburn

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803720.001.0001

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Sustainable Economic Growth and the Role of Natural Capital

Sustainable Economic Growth and the Role of Natural Capital

(p.365) 16 Sustainable Economic Growth and the Role of Natural Capital
National Wealth

Dieter Helm

Oxford University Press

The conventional economic approaches to economic growth have focused on macroeconomic aggregates and on neoclassical microeconomic foundations; on flows rather than stocks; and on utility rather than capabilities. This chapter presents an alternative asset-based approach, focused on balance sheets and capital maintenance. The starting point is the assets necessary to provide the capability for consumers and businesses to participate in the economy. Many of these are infrastructures and public goods, and among these natural capital plays a central role. The depletion of natural capital in the twentieth century, notably the atmosphere and biodiversity, has overstated economic growth and left a legacy of capital maintenance and enhancement. The chapter defines the rules for a sustainable economic growth path, incorporating natural capital.

Keywords:   natural capital, balance sheets, capital maintenance, capabilities, infrastructure, public goods, climate change, biodiversity

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