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William Nordhaus on the Economics of Global Warming, Pandemics, and Corporate Malfeasance



In this conversation, based on his book The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World, Nobel Prize-winning pioneer in environmental economics, Dr. Nordhaus explains how and why “green thinking” could cure many of the world’s most serious problems — from global warming to pandemics. Solving the world’s biggest problems requires, more than anything else, coming up with new ways to manage the powerful interactions that surround us. For carbon emissions and other environmental damage, this means ensuring that those responsible pay their full costs rather than continuing to pass them along to others, including future generations. Nordhaus describes a new way of green thinking that would help us overcome our biggest challenges without sacrificing economic prosperity, in large part by accounting for the spillover costs of economic collisions. In a discussion that ranges from the history of the environmental movement to the Green New Deal, Nordhaus explains how rethinking economic efficiency, sustainability, politics, profits, taxes, individual ethics, corporate social responsibility, finance, and more would improve the effectiveness and equity of our society.

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