Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits

Archive Report

Kinship Between Ecology and Economy

The words “ecology” and “economy” come from the same etymological root—from the Greek word meaning “household management.” Yet in recent years the two words have taken on conflicting connotations, with environmental protection widely labeled an enemy of economic progress. The drive to stop pollution and clean up the environment, which came to resemble a national crusade in the giddy aftermath of Earth Day 1970, ran head-on into energy shortages, rising inflation, spreading unemployment and deepening recession in the middle years of the decade. Cleaning up the environment and getting the economy back on its feet suddenly were regarded as mutually exclusive. Industry spokesmen, labor leaders and elected officials argued strongly that environmental regulations should be relaxed to stimulate the economy ...

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