Monday July 31 2006

Economics: The Hopeful Science

Professor John Quiggin

Discussion of environmental problems is often polarised between two kinds of pessimists.

On the one hand, many environmentalists argue that we cannot possibly sustain existing standards of living without wrecking the environment. On the other hand, are opponents of environmental policy who argue that we must accept grave damage to the environment as the cost of economic progress. Economics suggests a more hopeful answer. We can, if we choose, address the most severe environmental problems facing Australia and the world, and still enjoy rising standards of living over time.

[Image: Michael Bell]

John Quiggin is a Federation Fellow in Economics and Political Science at the University of Queensland. He is prominent both as a research economist and as a commentator on Australian economic policy. He has published over 750 research articles, books and reports, and he has been an active contributor to Australian public debate. He is a regular columnist for the Australian Financial Review and he frequently comments on policy issues for radio and TV. Since 2002, he has published a weblog ( providing daily comments on a wide range of topics.

Download a poster about the talk here (this is a high resolution pdf intended for printing (4.8 MB)).