Even though a large percentage of the dollars generated in our economy are derived from the earth (e.g. fish, trees, oil) and an equally large percentage of the wastes leftover from our economic activity are returned to the earth, our current economic models completely ignore these relationships. Despite the emergence of ecological economics, most university economic programs still do not cover these topics.
This has resulted in tragic consequences for our environment and our economy. As one example, because economists were not adequately monitoring the stocks of natural capital in the fishing industry, we experienced the complete and total collapse of the Atlantic cod fishing industry in Canada. Traditional economics states that this should not have been possible because when the supplies of cod started to dwindle, the price would naturally rise, thereby causing it to be conserved. In actual fact, the price of cod did not change by more than a few % following the complete collapse of the industry because this is a global commodity and cod from other parts of the world were quickly transported into Canada to replace the domestic shortfall. Because of their inadequate economic models, our economy suffered a huge negative impact as thousands of Atlantic Canadians lost their jobs, not to mention the huge loss to our stocks of natural capital.