tween organisms in an ecosystem range from predation and parasitism to various forms of coop-elation and synergy. Much the same can be said of firms in an economy.


A moment's thought should convince the reader that if the stock in any compartment changes, the stock in at least one other compartment must also change.


Another kind of primitive marine organism apparently used hydrogen sulfide as an energy source. The sulfur, released as a waste, combined with the dissolved iron and precipitated out as iron sulfide (pyrites).


However, this statement is not true for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Already the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased 20 percent since preindustrial times, while the concentration of methane is up 50 percent. The most potent greenhouse gases of all, chlorofluorocarbons, do not exist in nature at all.


The special case of indefinite storage in deep underground mines, wells, or caverns, currently being considered for nuclear wastes, is not really applicable to industrial or consumer wastes except in very special and rare circumstances. Surface landfills, no matter how well designed, are hardly permanent repositories, although little consideration has been given to the long-run disposal of leachates.


The reserve-to-production ratio has remained close to 20 years. For example, this figure was widely published in the 1920s by Graf, as cited by Rogner (1987).


This need not be true for each individual element, however. A major materials substitution within a sector can result in the use of one material increasing, at the expense of others, of course. The substitution of plastics for many structural materials, or of synthetic rubber for natural rubber, would exemplify this sort of substitution. Currently, glass fibers are in the process of substituting for copper wire as the major carrier of telephonic communications.


The analogous problem is beginning to be recognized in the private sector, as the legacy of Frederick Taylor is finally being challenged by new managerial/organizational forms. The large U.S. firms, which adopted Taylorism first and most enthusiastically at the beginning of the twentieth century, have been the slowest to adapt themselves to the new environment of intense international competition and faster technological change.


Ayres, Robert U. 1988. Self organization in biology and economics. International Journal on the Unity of the Sciences 1(3)(Fall) [also IIASA Research Report #RR-88-1, 1988].

Ayres, Robert U., and Allen V. Kneese. 1969. Production, Consumption and Externalities. American Economic Review, June [Reprinted in Benchmark Papers in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Daltz and Pentell, eds., Dowden, Hutchison and Ross, Stroudsberg 1974 and Bobbs-Merrill Reprint Series, N.Y.].

Ayres, Robert U., and Allen V. Kneese. 1989. Externalities: Economics and thermodynamics. In Economy and Ecology: Towards Sustainable Development, Archibugi and Nijkamp, eds. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1971. The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. 1988. Facts—1987 Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Nriagu, J. O. 1990. Global metal pollution. Environment 32(7):7-32.

Rogner, Hans-Holger. 1987. Energy in the world: The present situation and future options. In Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Refrigeration, August 24-28, 1987.

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