> Glossary
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biocapacity DEFINE also "bioproductive capacity"
biodiversity hot spots DEFINE
biosphere def
carrying capacity maximum population of a given species that can survive indefinitely in a given environment
catch-per-unit-effort hypothesis The assumption of a linear relationship between effort, stock and harvest.
closed system A closed system is a system that imports and exports energy only — matter circulates within the system but does not flow through it. The earth closely approximates a closed system.
complementarity Complementarity is the “opposite “ of substitutaibility—when goods or factors have to be used together in fairly strict combination with each other rather than instead of each other. Even substitutes have some degree of complementarity, unless they are
critical natural capital natural capital assets that are irreplaceable and cannot be substituted by anything else
depensation DEF
ecological economics The union of economics and ecology, with the economy concieved as a subsystem of the earth ecosystem that is sustained by a metabolic flow or "throughput" from and back to the larger system. See "throughput."
ecological footprint the area of productive land and water ecosystems required to produce the resources that the population consumes and assimilate the wastes that the population produces, wherever on Earth the land and water is located
economy def
ecosystem def
ecosystem collapse Ecosystem collapse occurs with the establishment of a new equilibrim after being driven beyond the boundaries of current dynamics
ecosystem degradation def
ecosystem function Ecosystem function refers to an emergent phenomenon in ecosystems, such as energy transfer, nutrient cycling, gas regulation, climate regulation, and the water cycle. As is typical of emergent properties, ecosystem functions cannot be readily explained b
ecosystem services RE DO RE DOEcosystem services are sometimes defined as ecosystem functions of value to humans, though given the tightly interconnected nature of ecosystems, it would be difficult to say with certainty that any particular ecosystem function is not of value
ecosystem structure Ecosystem structure means the individuals and communities of plants and animals of which an ecosystem is composed, their age and spatial distribution, and the abiotic resources present. The elements of ecosystem structure interact to create ecosystem fun
emergent properties DEF
endemic def
energy density [ CHECK CHARLEYS STUFF]
entropic dissapation Entropic dissipation is the gradual erosion and dispersion into the environment of the matter of which all human artifacts are composed in a one way flow of low entropy usefulness to high entropy waste. [ too restrictive?? shouldnt it be the erosion and d
entropy Entropy is a measure of how organized or useful natural or man made materials are. As matter is transformed in natural or man made processes, entropy decreases - organization and value are lost. See “Second Law of Thermodynamics.” [ is this correct?]
environmental economics Environmental economics is the branch of neoclassical economics that addresses environmental problems such as pollution, negative externalities, and valuation of non-market environmental services. In general, environmental economics focuses almost exclus
equimarginal principle of maximization Equi-marginal Principle of Maximization is also known as the “when to stop” rule in microeconomics. This is the point at which a consumer reaches an allocation that maximizes her total satisfaction or total utility. That point occurs when the marginal uti
externality Externality refers to the unintended and uncompensated loss or gain in the welfare of one party resulting from an activity by another party.
externalized cost DEF EXT COST
feedback def (pos and neg)
fund def
gross national product Gross National Product (GNP) The market value of final goods and services purchased by households, by government, and by foreigners (net of what we purchase from them), in the current year. Alternatively, it is the sum of all value added to raw materials
gross world product Gross World Product is the sum total of all nation's Gross National Product.
income The maximum amount that a community could consume in a given time period and still be able to produce the same amount in the next time period. In other words, the maximum that can be consumed without reducing productive capacity, that is, without reducing
isew ISEW stands for Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, and is calculated by adjusting Personal Consumption for various factors that affect either sustainability or welfare, either positively or negatively, such as depletion of natural capital, increasing
life cycle analysis DEFINE (LCA)
material flow analysis a quantitative procedure for determining the flow of materials and energy through the economy. It is an accounting system that captures the mass balances in an economy, where inputs (extractions + imports) equal outputs (consumptions + exports + accumulation + wastes), and thus is based on the laws of thermodynamics
material throughput Material throughput simply refers to the total amount of matter and energy involved at each and every stage of the economic cycle: extraction, production, use and disposal.
maximum scale Maximum scale is the biophysical limit beyond which ecosystems can no longer function at their traditional equilibrium. Exceeding maximum scale involves the collapse of the ecosystem, and the destruction of its natural capital. A new equilibrium is establ
maximum sustainable scale * Maximum Sustainable Scale is the highest level of material throughput that remains sustainable; that is, where the rate of throughput is theoretically identical to the rate of regeneration.
maximum sustainable yield Maximum sustainable yield refers to the level of an exploited population which can be harvested leaving the population undiminished in the following year. There is one level of population for which the sustainable yield is a maximum. In general,however,th
natural capital Natural Capital refers to those biotic and abiotic resources which provide either materials for the human economy, or services to maintain various biogeochemical cycles and life, or both. Natural capital which provides resources are called stocks and na
natural capital stocks Natural capital stocks are stocks or funds provided by nature (biotic or abiotic) that yield a valuable flow into the future of either natural resources (in the case of stocks) or natural services (in the case of funds).
natural dividend Natural Dividend refers to the unearned income from the harvest of renewable resources. As nature and not human industry produces renewable resources, all profits above “normal” profit (included in the total cost) are unearned, and the natural dividend i
neoclassical economics Neoclassical economics is the currently dominant school of economics, characterized by its marginal utility theory of value, its devotion to the general equilibrium model stated mathematically, its individualism and reliance on free markets and the invisi
nonrenewable resources Nonrenewable resource are low entropy matter-energy useful to humans and present in fixed stocks whose quantity declines over time. This includes mineral resources, fossil fuels, and fossil aquifers. As fresh water is naturally recycled through the hydr
open system Open system refer to a system that takes in and gives out both matter and energy. The economy is such a system.
optimal scale Optimal scale refers to a socio-political boundary, established by due process, which ensures that the magnitude of the macroeconomy, measured in terms of material throughput, provides an adequate safety margin from the biophysical boundary of maximum sus
optimal scale of the macroeconomy Optimal scale of the macroeconomy refers to the magnitude of the macroeconomy (measured in terms of throughput) where the increasing marginal social and environmental cost of further expansion are equal to the declining marginal benefits of the extra pro
overshoot def
pareto efficient allocation Pareto efficient allocation occurs when no other allocation could make at least one person better off without making anyone else worse off. This is also known as a Pareto optimum.
pigouvian taxes Pigouvian taxes are taxes designed to measure the marginal external cost of production to a commodity. It is added to the price which measures only marginal private costs. The price plus tax now measures marginal social cost, thus internalizing the origi
precautionary principle def
renewable resources Renewable Resources are living resources capable of regeneration and growth in perpetuity if exploited in a sustainable manner. Renewable resources can be exploited in an unsustainable manner, run down and driven to extinction. Living resources that are c
resilience def
scale Scale is the physical size of the economic subsystem relative to the ecosystem that contains and sustains it. It could be measured in its stock dimension of population and inventory of artifacts, or in its flow dimension of throughput required to maintain
second law of thermodynamics [ this needs reworking ] Entropy never decreases in an isolated system. Although matter and energy are constant in quantity (first law), they change in quality. The measure of quality is entropy, and basically it is a physical measure of the degree of “us
seigniorage Seigniorage is the benefit that accrues to the issuer of token money, resulting from the fact that the issuer receives real goods and services in exchange for a mere token, whereas everyone else has to give up a real asset to get money to exchange for
sink Sink refers to that part of the environment that receives the waste flow of material throughput, and may if not overwhelmed, be able to regenerate the waste through biogeochemical cycles back to usable resources.
social justice def
solar energy Solar Energy is the radiant energy flowing from the sun, our basic long-run source of low entropy that sustains life and wealth.
source Source refers to that part of the environment that supplies usable raw materials that constitute the material throughput by which the economy produces, and which ultimately returns as waste to environmental sinks.
steady state economy Steady-state economy refers to the economy viewed as a subsystem in dynamic equilibrium with the parent ecosystem/biosphere that sustains it. Quantitative growth is replaced by qualitative development or improvement as the basic goal. A steady state econo
stock def
substitutability Substitutability is the capacity of a one factor (or good) to be used in the place of another, the opposite of “complementarity.” Substitutability is never perfect and the further a substitution is carried the less satisfactory it becomes (the more the
sustainable yield Sustainable yield is the amount of an exploited population which can be harvested leaving the population undiminished in the following year; the growth rate of the existing stock. See “Maximum sustainable yield”
thermodynamics Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that tells us that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed, and that entropy in the total system always increases (ie that matter is degraded). This branch of physics is the most relevant to economics
throughput Throughput is the flow of raw materials and energy from the global ecosystem’s sources of low entropy (mines, wells, fisheries, croplands), through the economy, and back to the global ecosystem’s sinks for high entropy wastes (atmosphere, oceans, dumps).
uncertainty contrast with risk
uneconomic growth Uneconomic growth refers to growth of the macroeconomy that entails costs that are greater than the benefits derived. It involves a situation in which further expansion entails lost ecosystem services that are worth more than the extra production benefits
unsustainable scale A level of throughput that is above maximum sustainable scale, that is, beyond the rate of regeneration of the affected ecosystem
waste absorption capacity Waste absorption capacity refers to the capacity of an ecosystem to absorb and reconstitute wastes into usable forms through biogeochemical cycles powered by the sun. This capacity is a renewable resource that can be overwhelmed and destroyed, or used wit

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