The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is a general economic measurement, and more specific indicators are often used in conjunction to understand national economic trends. The Global Footprint Network recommends the use of the Ecological Footprint (EF) as a complement to the GDP, and provides data pertaining to each country. The EF measures the human demand for natural resources in a country, the amount of the country's natural resources, and the net surplus or deficit. Therefore the EF is an important indicator of long-term economic sustainability. Countries with a lower income (GDP) per capita tend to have an ecological surplus whereas countries with a higher income per capita tend to have ecological deficits. This may be explained by the fact that economic development and production use up natural resources. However, there are countries such as New Zealand, Finland, and Canada which are exceptions. These countries (each representing a different continent) deserve attention because of both their large ecological surplus and high income per capita.
This study aims to augment our theoretical knowledge about the EF and economic sustainability by analyzing the similarities and other trends in these countries. Population density, geographic location, the nature of land and water resources, climate, political and economic relations with the world's large economies, and economic industrialization patterns are briefly discussed as reasons leading up to the ecological surplus. Next, this study analyzes the economic consequences of having an ecological surplus especially in relations with countries with ecological deficits. Factors such as international trade, immigration, tourism, and foreign investment are briefly discussed from the perspective of logical economic implications. Finally, these findings from scholarly literature and recent trends are summarized in order to contribute to a more enhanced understanding of economic sustainability, especially as it pertains to these three countries.
|Keywords:||Economic Sustainability, Ecological Footprint, International Economics|
Assistant Professor, European Division, Information System Management, University of Maryland, Heidelberg, BW, Germany
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