I recently received a call for papers from The International Journal of Sustainability Economics. I am, to say the least, skeptical about the economics that appears in such a journal.
At the beginning of 21st century the sustainability concept was mainly a basis for developing policies consistent with a continued use of resources into the future without causing environmental crisis. But the situation has evolved, and the global economic crisis in 2009 was the ultimate consequence of short-term economic thinking. We need a new form of economic development, addressing the needs of the present without undermining the needs of the future. The International Journal of Sustainable Economy (IJSE)addresses sustainability issues within economic theory and analysis.
Every time I read things on sustainability, I am struck by how rarely people mention using prices to promote sustainability.
If people are so convinced that we are going to run out of x, y, or z, I encourage them to buy up access rights and options to mine/harvest/whatever x, y, or z. If they are right, they'll serve two functions:
- They'll drive up current prices and induce others to use less x, y, or z, and
- They'll make a fortune for their progeny.
But nope. Most people who write about sustainability have all sorts of plans for how to interfere with the price system, plans for telling others what to do, and plans for imposing their own forecasts on others who don't share them.
I wish people who are concerned about sustainability would do more speculating and less preaching. I wish they would do more to encourage the use of prices and less to interfere with those very speculators who are doing so much to make sure we have resources for the future.