The Post-Sustainability Trilemma – Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning – article

The Post-Sustainability Trilemma

Umberto Mario Sconfienza | Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning


This paper provides a theoretical and methodological account of an important controversy between neoclassical resource economics and ecological economics from the early 1970s to the end of the 1990s. It shows that the assumption of unbounded resource productivity in the work of Solow and Stiglitz–and the related concepts of substitution and technical progress–rest on a model-based methodology. On the other hand, Georgescu-Roegen’s assumption of thermodynamic limits to production, later revived by Daly, comes from a methodology of interdisciplinary consistency. I conclude that neither side provided a definitive proof of its own claim because both face important conceptual issues


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