Full text: Stagnation.

Stagnation had passed out of sight for some time when at the 
very end of the 60s a new element appeared on the scene: 
The environmental problems which at that time started to 
command official attention ( National Environmental Policy 
Act 1969 ). With the publication of the Limits of Growth 
( Meadows 1972 ) a short time later stagnation for the 
first time appeared as a desirable policy to be pursued 
and not as a threat to the functioning of our society. 
The threat of exhaustion of resources and destruction of 
environment was used as motive for a proposed no-growth policy. 
With the weakening of growth and the appearance 
of mass unemployment in the 70s the old stagnation theory 
received again some attention. Interest shifted, however, 
now to the structural changes: The decline of the basic or 
smoke stack industries, the appearance of distressed legions 
all over the world, the tendential decline of manufacturing, 
the crisis of the large concerns with their burocratic and 
hierarchical organisation and their tendency to switch 
from production to finance and speculation. The crisis 
of thelarge concern involves retardation of innovation 
and investment and it therefore links up naturally with 
the stagnation theories based on oligopoly and concentration 
of industry. 
On the face of it the interests of environment and employment 
are opposed to each other and there are repeated clashes 
between the two. In spite of this manifest conflict there 
are,however, close parallels between the ecologist's 
problems and certain problems of economic structure.

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