“I’m trying to build common ground between environmentalists and economists. Those two groups are being cat and dog for a long time,” author and Oxford professor Paul Collier
, speaking about his new book The Plundered Planet
, tells ECSP
Collier says the interests of the two groups have thus far been dominated by their “fundamentalist” wings: On one side the environmental “romantics,” who value nature over people, and on the other the economic “ostriches,” who deny that nature’s a priori
existence endows it with unique characteristics.
Work toward resolving two of the world’s most pressing challenges, environmental degradation and poverty, demands collaboration and mutual recognition by both sides. “If you take that romantic view of nature,” says Collier, “we will never feed a world of 9 billion people–we will never lift the poorest people out of poverty.” At the same time, nature does not belong exclusively to those living today, and its value must be preserved for future generations. “Those rights of the future have to be respected,” he says.
“The romantics and the ostriches, between them at the moment, are winning,” says Collier. “[I]t’s very important they start to lose.”