McCOY, N. H., & Atwood, S. (2005). Flaws in Orr's Laws (and the Paradigm that Produced Them): an Abbreviated Response. Conservation Biology, 19(4), 1318-1320. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00224.x
Conservation of biological diversity is often hampered by ignorance and short-sightedness. Yet knowledge is not enough; biology illuminates ecological relationships, but it alone cannot conserve ecosystems. Therefore, we agree that there is no higher priority for conservation biologists than to improve their understanding of economics (Orr 2004, Law 1). Unfortunately, from many of his comments and the tenor of subsequent responses (Hayes 2004; Vitek 2004; Lovejoy 2004), it is evident that economics and, more important, parallels between ecology and economics are misunderstood, implying the two disciplines are more different than they are and that knowledge of economics is primarily needed to enhance the appeal of ecological insight. We offer comments intended to (1) correct misunderstandings about the parallel sciences of ecology and economics; (2) present a broader perspective on efficiency, selfishness, ecological bubbles, and conditions for growth; and (3) discuss the appropriate role of science in addressing natural resource problems. Efforts to maintain ecological integrity will benefit when we abandon the erroneous assumption that ignorance and selfishness per se cause environmental problems.