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the study of how we decide to use scarce resources to satisfy the demand for goods & services
a survival economy. one in which people meet most or all of their daily needs directly from nature & don't purchase or trade for most of life's necessities
capitalist market economy
an economy in which buyers & sellers interact to determine which goods & services to produce, how much of them to produce, & how to distribute them
centrally planned economy
state socialist economy; an economy in which a nation's government determines how to allocate resources in a top-down manner
an essential service an ecosystem provides that supports life & makes economic activity possible (e.g. ecosystems naturally purify air & water, cycle nutrients, provide for plants to be pollinated by animals, & serve as receptacles & recycling systems for the waste generated by our economic activity)
1723-1790; Scottish philosopher known as the father of classical economics; believed that when people are free to pursue their own economic self-interest in a competitive marketplace, the marketplace will behave as if guided by "an invisible hand" that ensures that their actions will benefit society as a whole
founded by Adam Smith; the study of the behavior of buyers & sellers in a free-market economy; holds that individuals acting in their own self-interest may benefit society, provided that their behavior is constrained by the rule of law & by private property rights & operates within competitive markets
a theory of economics that explains market prices in terms of consumer preferences for units of particular commodities; buyers desire the lowest possible price, whereas sellers desire the highest possible price- this conflict between buyers & sellers results in a compromise price being reached & the "right" quantity of commodities being bought & sold
a method commonly used by neoclassical economists, in which estimated costs for a proposed action are totaled & then compared to the sum of benefits estimated to result from the action
the way material goods often fail to bring contentment to people affluent enough to afford them
argue that civilizations don't overcome their environmental limitations in the long run
tend to agree that economies are unsustainable if population growth isn't reduced & resources aren't used more efficiently; we can accomplish these changes & attain sustainability within our current economic systems
the failure of markets to take into account the environment's positive effects on economies (e.g. ecosystem services) or to reflect the negative effects of economic activity on the environment & thereby on people (external costs)
policy that's made by governments, including those at the local, state, federal, & international levels; it consists of legislation, regulations, orders, incentives, & practices intended to advance societal welfare
public policy that pertains to human interactions with the environment; generally aims to regulate resource use or reduce pollution to promote human welfare &/or protect natural systems
a party that fails to invest in controlling pollution or carrying out other environmentally responsible activities & instead relies on the efforts of other parties to do so (e.g. a factory that fails to control its emissions)
a specific rule issued by an administrative agency, based on the more broadly written statutory law passed by Congress & enacted by the president
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
a US law enacted on Janary 1, 1970, that created an agency called the Council on Environmental Quality & required that an environmental impact statement be prepared for any major federal action
environmental impact statement (EIS)
a report of results from detailed studies that assesses the potential effects on the environment that would likely result from development projects or other actions undertaken by the government
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
an administrative agency created by executive order in 1970; it is charged with conducting & evaluating research, monitoring environmental quality, setting standards, enforcing those standards, assisting the states in meeting standards, & goals, & educating the public
international law that arises from long-standing practices held in common by most cultures
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
promotes commerce & allows industries & corporations to weaken environmental protection laws if they view them as barriers to trade
United Nations (UN)
organization founded in 1945 to promote international peace & to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural, & humanitarian problems
institution founded in 1944 that serves as one of the globe's largest sources of funding for economic development, including such major projects as dams, irrigation infrastructure, & other undertakings
European Union (EU)
political & economic organization formed after WWII to promote Europe's economic & social progress
World Trade Organization (WTO)
organization based in Geneva that represents multinational corporations & promotes free trade by reducing obstacles to international commerce & enforcing fairness among nations in trading pracices
an approach to protecting the environment that sets strict legal limits & threatens punishment for violations of those limits
a government incentive (a giveaway of cash or publicly owned resources, or a tax break) intended to encourage a particular activity
a levy on environmentally harmful activities & products aimed at providing a market-based incentive to correct for market failure
the practice of designating on a product's label how the product was grown, harvested, or manufactured, so that consumers buying it are aware of the processes involved & can differentiate between brands that use processes believed to be environmentally beneficial (or less harmful than others) & those that don't
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