General Question

benjaminlevi's avatar

Is the economy more important than the environment?

Asked by benjaminlevi (2992points) July 13th, 2009

Which one can better survive without the other?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

17 Answers

jpasq03's avatar

Without getting into a global warming debate or trying to impress my opinion, and trying to be philosophical:

People are most important.

People depend on the economy and the environment.

When people can’t live in their environment the economy is moot. (Back to the basics: loincloths, hunting/gathering, bad healthcare, sleeping under the stars…)
When people are fine in their environment, the economy is important. (Commodities, industrialization, modern medicine, pest control…)

It’s up to you to decide if we can live in our environment at this rate, or if the economy should be focused on.

jamielynn2328's avatar

The environment can and would survive better without any economy. And the economy would fail without the environment.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

A deterioration of either causes profound suffering.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@jpasq03 But how will the economy fare when forests, fisheries and farms have been degraded to the point where they no long produce marketable goods?

Tink's avatar

Some people think so some do not.
Me I personally think the environment is more important, im not saying the economy right now isn’t bad or that I do not care for it.
But thats what I think.
And yes we do need money but most importantly we need a good environment to live on.
People can have all the money in the world but what good would that do if outside of your front door, the air was contaminated, the sun wasn’t out anymore, or it was all polluted.

jpasq03's avatar

@benjaminlevi I’m assuming responsible people who recognize the need for balance and a contribution back (good use of soil, recycling) and not inhuman corporations, (that exist only to make a profit).

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Theoretically no but when people are down to eking out a mean existence and resources like stable work and food are scarce then the environment will suffer. I remember some years back discussing with an SO how we looked forward to being able to buy organic foods and products yet we were existing on 2-for-1 processed meat corn dogs and hot dogs from the local mini mart.

tadpole's avatar

we cannot survive without the environment but we can without the economy….the planet itself can cope whatever, it’s up to us to save ourselves….and we ain’t doing very well…

Nefily's avatar

I think the environment is more important we need to take good care of something we live and breath off of. We are basically killing ourselves by destroying the environment. I think money is very crucial but without a clean safe planet to live on what is the use of money?

YARNLADY's avatar

Only if you take a very short sighted view of it. In the short run, removing environmental protections could benefit the economy. In the long run, failing to protect the environment will eventually have drastic consequences to the economy.

Blondesjon's avatar

I can still live and feed my family without the economy.

skfinkel's avatar

Must have a healthy environment above all. We are currently suffering with a lousy economy, and most of us are continuing to breath and eat and take care of our young, and survive.

ubersiren's avatar

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

The way I see it is that we can’t survive without either, but we can always get another economy if we destroy the one we have, or if it’s not working. The environment we live in is the only one we have.

wundayatta's avatar

Both “the economy” and “the environment” are category labels. Asking which is more important is kind of like asking which is more important: rocks, or birds? The things in these categories aren’t more important—one than the other—but they are entangled with each other.

What we think of as “the economy” is generally a way of describing human relationships. Economic relationships are part of the environment we live in. What we think of as “the environment” plays an enormously important role in economic relationships. As long as humanity exists, there can be no economy without environment, or environment without economic relationships. If humanity doesn’t exist, then the whole question is moot, isn’t it?

Now, I think what you might be asking is what kind of economic trade-offs should we make in order to preserve the environment, or what kind of environmental degradation is acceptable in order to preserve the human standards of living. Of course, this is another kind of category error. Environmental health and economic health are not at odds with each other. We can improve our economy by working to improve our environment. Caring for the environment forces us to become more efficient.

If we don’t care about environmental health, then we waste resources, and eventually, we’ll make our lives much, much more difficult. So to say you would sacrifice environmental health for economic health is a complete misunderstanding of the relationship between the two. That sacrifice is compete short term thinking. Short term thinking almost always comes back to kick your ass into the gutter.

Long term thinking and long term time horizons will lead humans to improve the economy by improving the environment. Win-win. The environment is crucial for human economy. If we didn’t have a human economy, we really wouldn’t care about our environment. You can’t have one without the other. At least, you can’t prove that the world exists if there are no humans to prove it to.

dannyc's avatar

The economy and environment are both important. But with a trillion dollar deficit and counting, the US might want to take a stronger look at dealing with the bloated government and weak profitability of firms as a first priority. If there are no profits, there will be no money to do anything with the environment. A bankrupt person can’t spend very much and the present train wreck that is the US deficit is really troublesome. People’s behaviour, waste, and careless polluting are really changeable in each and every one’s daily life. The amount of ridiculous consumer waste is appalling in our western economies. The two problems are in some respects mutually exclusive. Just give it a shot in your daily life. Make recycling, low energy use, riding a bike, not wasting, being resourceful, and watching your activities a personal point and if all pitch in, the environment will take care of itself, no need for governments at all. The economy, though, is a different matter and is in the hands of the most frustrating of species on the planet..the politicians and business riff raff..

mattbrowne's avatar

No. Earth will survive without economies, but not vice versa.

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