An Essay on a Sustainable Economy (An NPG Position Paper)

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We originally published this NPG Position Paper in 1999. We have published it again because we believe that the problems it addresses are still very much with us, and that our recommended solutions are as pertinent now as they were then.

Executive Summary

Since NPG was founded over a quarter century ago it has argued that the most important task facing the human race is to create an economy that would be sustainable indefinitely, and afford an adequate standard of living for all the world’s people. But to create such a sustainable economy would be impossible without a smaller world population than the 3.8 billion existing in 1972 when NPG was founded.
Until now we have never attempted to define what size global economy would be sustainable, but we feel that an attempt to do so, despite the obvious difficulties of such an undertaking, is long overdue.

The central purpose of this paper is to try and address the following two questions:

  1. What is the optimal size of a global economy that would be sustainable indefinitely, and afford an adequate standard of living for all?
  2. What size world population would be necessary in order to create such a sustainable global economy?

Read the entire paper here

Donald Mann

President of Negative Population Growth, a national non-profit membership organization dedicated to educating Americans about the devastating effects of overpopulation on our environment and quality of life.

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