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The difficulty is that these investments will be costly, and may require an increasing share of each nation's gross domestic product. With diminishing returns to problem solving, addressing environmental issues in our conventional way means that more resources will have to be allocated to science, engineering, and government. In the absence of high economic growth this would require at least a temporary decline in the standard of living , as people would have comparatively less to spend on food, housing, clothing, medical care, transportation, and entertainment.
Allen and Thomas Hoekstra , , as claiming that "in managing ecosystems for sustainability , managers should identify what is missing from natural regulatory process and provide only that. The ecosystem will do the rest. Let the ecosystem i. Requirement of knowledge[ edit ] Tainter argues that this would "require much knowledge that we do not now possess. That means we need research that is complex and costly, and requires fossil-fuel subsidies.
Lowering the costs of complexity in one sphere causes them to rise in another. It generated its own problems of complexity and costliness.
These included railways and canals to distribute coal and manufactured goods, the development of an economy increasingly based on money and wages, and the development of new technologies.
While such elements of complexity are usually thought to facilitate economic growth, in fact they can do so only when subsidized by energy. This is the central argument Tainter makes: the energy economy always subsidizes the product economy and service economy , and any intermediates such as commodity markets.
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Requirement of knowledge[ edit ] Tainter argues that this would "require much knowledge that we do not now possess.
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