My Question to Paul Krugman

I just left this comment on Paul Krugman’s blog post about gold at the New York Times:

I don’t agree with the economic model that says that land can be used without depleting the land. While I realize that the QUANTITY of land does not change, the QUALITY of land varies substantially in how people take care of it. Those sections of my family’s gardens that receive regular infusions of fertilizer and compost become much more productive and useful; those sections which are left uncared-for, or farmed too often without fertilization, become less productive and less useful — and then it requires inputs of heavy equipment like weed-whackers and chainsaws, and materials like light motor oil and gasoline, as well as “sweat equity”, to make that land productive and useful again. Likewise, productive farmland can be rented — but unless the renter or landlord takes steps to steward the land, it can be rendered unproductive by cutting too many trees and risking erosion, or over-farming…

Could you, as a Nobel Prize-winning economist, address the question of how the discipline of economics has failed to address questions of ecological stability and land stewardship? The current model of economics appears (to an interested layman, of course) to be broken.

This is going to be part of a new series here on this blog, I’m thinking (or not), where I address questions to influential and perhaps powerful people.  We’ll see if I get a response.  I probably won’t.  Krugman doesn’t usually respond directly to comments, but maybe this will intrigue him enough to investigate.

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