The author asserts that the cause of the current environmental and natural resource use problems is the attempt to run a technologically more sophisticated and significantly larger economy at higher average standards of living using outdated sets of implicit prices, relative to the real social value of environmental or natural resource services. Where these prices are implicitly set at zero, no policy, including a recycling policy, can be expected to succeed. Unless western society realises that these prices are significantly above zero, and are rising in some cases at an accelerating rate, much of the research reported will ultimately be of little or no value. © 1977.
Butlin, J. A. (1977). Economics and recycling. Resources Policy, 3(2), 87–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-4207(77)90032-0