Trade and Environmental Sustainability: An Evolutionary Perspective

John M. Gowdy
1995 Review of social economy  
Economies entirely dependent upon local environmental resources should have a greater incentive to preserve those resources than economies based on specialization and trade. Evidence from history and prehistory, however, shows that many regionally based economies have collapsed because of environmental overexploitation. Evidence from the past shows that there is a strong connection between environmental degradation, power, and social instability. There seems to be a complex and recurring pattem
more » ... nd recurring pattem in early civilizations of expansion, a flourishing of culture and art, and then social disintegration and collapse as ruling elites pushed the expansion of material culture beyond the limits of the environment to support it. Recognizing the importance of the relationship between power, environmental sustainability, and social vulnerability is essential in formulating ecologically sustainable trade policies.
doi:10.1080/00346769500000015 fatcat:i65orqackbcjzdq4kc3srnif5m