By Frank J. Convery
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Additional info for Applying environmental economics in Africa, Volumes 23-277
The data-free circle must somehow be broken. I hope that this book will give some insights on how to meet this challenge. " l hope that the first step will act as an intellectual catalyst, generating responses that lead to more data and analysis in a way that is mutually reinforcing. 4 How to Use This Book An understanding of the sequence, content, structure, and style of the book will help readers to use it efficiently. 1 Sequence and Content The underlying philosophy of this book is that the economist has a vital role to play in bringing a consideration of environmental policy and management to the center of a nation's agenda.
Giving the concept operational expression means somehow taking into account the effects on future generations of actions we undertake today and arriving at processes of development that leave people in the future at least as well off as we are today. This concept is extended by some to include the biosphere as a whole, so that all life on the planet is not diminished over time. A rich and expanding literature exists on the adjustments needed in national accounting to incorporate consideration of sustainability.
The power of the economics discipline flows in part from the adherence of practitioners to such a theoretical structure. The challenge that all economists face when operating in developing countries is how to maintain the necessary theoretical rigor in a working situation where markets are weak or nonexistent and data are poor. Some economists, especially those from industrial countries, suffer from intellectual grid-lock when faced with the intimidating realities of field application and fall back on a recounting of theory and the general insights that such can yield in the absence of data.