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    ABSTRACT

New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1994) 39(3): 31–34
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Sustainability and the role of economics

H. R. Bigsby



The paper examines the role of economics in dealing with environmental concerns such as sustainability and the issue of whether economics and the market are relevant for these types of problems. Both the market and the political forum are mechanisms for resolving resource allocation conflicts like sustainability. In either mechanism, participants are required to reveal their values or ethics so that trade or compromises can be made. In this context of decision making and the need to weigh up alternatives, economics provides a means to evaluate the processes and the underlying values which are being revealed. The neoclassical economic paradigm and its tools are important components of the economic contribution. Concepts like opportunity cost, contingent valuation, willingness to pay or discounting will not disappear from the study of environmental problems or from the issue of sustainability because they reflect issues and values which are real and need to be studied to make adequate decisions.
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