This brief retrospective note describes the author’s occasional contributions to the economics of natural resources. It emphasizes the role and interpretation of the Hotelling condition and discusses the reasons why that result plays so small a role empirically. The concept of sustainability is introduced in the simplest possible content, that of directly consuming a finite stock over infinite time. When the resources flow is an input into production along with capital that can be accumulated, the nature of sustainability changes and becomes more interesting. It is suggested, however, that to consider instead the eventual availability of a resource-free backstop technology may be just as interesting and more relevant. That concept is illustrated in the direct-consumption context but awaits further development in production economies.

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A Conversation with Robert M. Solow

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Dr. Robert Solow, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks about his life and career with Dr. Peter Berck, SJ Hall Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. In this conversation, Dr. Solow discusses growing up in an immigrant family in 1930s Brooklyn, being introduced to literature and ideas at James Madison High School, attending Harvard University on scholarship, and receiving the 1987 Nobel Prize in Economics Laureate.

  • Article Type: Review Article
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