Geog 352 day 13
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GEOG 352: Day 13. Review for Mid-Term. Today, Kim will do her presentation on the tragedy of the commons, and then we will focus on a review for Thursday’s mid-term. Remember to review the glossary in the textbook when preparing for the mid-term.

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GEOG 352: Day 13

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GEOG 352: Day 13

Review for Mid-Term

  • Today, Kim will do her presentation on the tragedy of the commons, and then we will focus on a review for Thursday’s mid-term.

  • Remember to review the glossary in the textbook when preparing for the mid-term.

  • Reminder that there is space tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Imogene Lim’s food systems course (Building 356, Room 334) to hear guest speaker Robert Fox of Oxfam on strategies for meeting global food challenge in the coming decades.

Housekeeping Items

  • How do the workings of the economy relate to space and place – the characteristics of which, and the relations between, being the specific province of geographers?

  • How are nature and culture affected by economic activity?

  • How do differences in culture, ideology, and government change how people respond to economic phenomena?

  • What differentiates the traditional profit-making activity of industry and retail from what was portrayed in the movie The Inside Job?

Items for Review

  • How do ecological economists differ from mainstream neo-classical economists?

  • Where does historian Karl Polanyi fit into all of this?

  • What is a “triple-bottom line” approach?

  • What are the five (or sometimes six) forms of capital, and how would you define them?

Source: Itusozluk

Items for Review




  • What ends does (and should) an economy serve?

  • What ends does our current economy serve?

  • What is the definition of an opportunity cost?

  • The authors offer this definition of opportunity cost: “the best alternative given up when a choice is made.”

  • How would you define open systems, closed systems, and isolated systems? What type is the Earth?

  • What are the implications of this for the economy?

  • Is nature a subsystem of the economy?


  • When does growth become uneconomic?

  • What is throughput?

  • What is the difference between an empty world and a full worldand how does it manifest?

  • What is drawdown?

  • What is overshoot?


  • What is the optimum size for an economy or activity?

  • What is diminishing marginal utility?

  • What is the law of increasing marginal cost?

  • What is natural capital and some of its different aspects?

  • Are there limits to human ability to substitute for natural capital?

  • Why can’t the human population and economy increase forever?


  • Ultimately, ecological economists want to make us aware that the economy is not only circular, but also linear.

production and sale of goods and services

wages, salaries, and profits



Another Way of looking at circularity and linearity….


extraction/ depletion of raw materialsproduction & consumptionwaste & pollution

  • What are the 1st and 2nd laws of thermo-dynamics and how do they influence the workings of the economy?

  • Do they affect renewable and non-renewable resources in different ways?

  • The authors discuss an ends-means spectrum: ultimate ends, intermediate ends, intermediate means, ultimate means. What do these refer to in relation to the economy?

  • Have there been similarities between capitalism and ‘communism’?

  • What is the difference between growth and development?


  • What is the difference between stock-flow and fund-service resources, and what are some examples?

  • What distinguishes excludable and non-excludable resources, and what are some examples?

  • What distinguishes rival and non-rival resources, and what are some examples?

  • Are there instances of non-rival resources being made excludable?


  • What are some of the eight goods and services provided by nature?

  • Are there distinctions amongst abiotic resources?

  • Where does fresh water and soil fit in terms of renewable and non-renewable resources?

  • What is EROI and how has it been changing?

  • Apart from depletion, what other kinds of ecological impacts/ natural capital depreciation are associated with fossil fuel and mineral extraction?


  • Is water a stock-flow or fund-service resource?

  • Are fossil fuels and minerals rival or non-rival and over what time scale?

  • What are the three functions of biotic resources?

  • How are ecosystems characterized by non-linear behaviourand what implications does this hold for the precautionary principle?

  • What are some of the challenges associated with the concept of sustained (or sustainable) yield?


  • What is an ecosystem service?

  • What are the lessons of Biosphere 2?

  • Do the products and services of nature have the characteristics necessary to be efficiently allocated by the market – why or why not?

  • What are congestible resources, and are there different types?

  • What are public goods?

  • What is the free rider effect?

  • Non-excludable rival resources: are they best described as a commons or as open-access systems?

  • What difficulties do these systems run into?


  • What was the fate of the commons over the last 500 years?

  • In terms of the invisible hand of self-interest, when does it lead to the common good and when does it lead to market failure?

  • What is the “tragedy of the non-commons”?

  • What are externalities?

  • What is intertemporal discounting?

  • Is human nature selfish or altruistic or does it depend on context?

  • What kinds of convergences are occurring between biology and economics?


  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Garrett Hardin and Ridley and Low articles?

  • What are the implications for the environmental movement?

  • What are the characteristics of homo economicus? Is this an accurate picture of humans, and what role does culture play in shaping human nature?

  • What is the Easterlin paradox?

  • What makes people happy and are there any constants across culture?


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