Some of the most revealing as well as some of the most cynical sceptical analysis of sustainable development are based on economic analyses of the modern development practices. The Sceptical Environmentalist is in fact not a scientist but an economist pretending that sustainable development will be produced through market forces. The costs of non-sustainability are too high to be left to the dithering calculations of market makers, unless revolution and war over resources are to be avoided.

The Stern Report has put a more realistic perspective on the role of economics in the struggle to mitigate the worst effects of unchecked consumerism and provides guidance on the direction the markets must be obliged to go to avoid economic meltdown.