As the Economy Grows, the Environment Degrades Essay

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In the 1990s, the discourse on the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation expanded exponentially (Cole & Neumayer, 2005; Stern, 2003; 2004). Most of this intellectual confabulation revolved around the Environmental Kuznets Curve, a hypothesis that argues that environmental degradation would increase during an early economic development phase, eventually reaching the ‘turning point’ where improvement in environmental conditions will begin. In other words, the graphical relationship between per capita income and environmental pollution would be represented by an inverted U-shaped curve, drawing direct relevance to the behavior of the Kuznets curve that (originally) theorizes economic inequality and per capita income to exhibit the same relationship, named after Simon Kuznets who hypothesized this relationship in the early 1950s. However, the adapted version of the general model into the ecological framework emerged much later in the 1990s, alongside other growing concern for environment such as the development of frameworks such as sustainability.

Theoretical background

The origins and early analysis of the EKC can be traced back to the colossal studies undertaken in the 1990s. Grossman and Krueger’s publication ‘Environmental impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement’ in 1991 was revolutionary in comparing the general Kuznets Curve and its relevance in the context of environmental degradation. They attempted to establish that…