How can we meet the economic needs of all in the present while leaving equal or better economic opportunities for those of the future? This is the question of economic sustainability, and economic sustainability is not possible without ecological and social sustainability. There is no economic incentive for a person to do anything for the sole benefit of anyone else, and certainly not for the benefit of those of future generations. Thus, the question of economic sustainability is ultimately a question of ethics.
John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent thirty years in various professorial positions at four different state universities before retiring in early 2000. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on agriculture and economics. He is the author of six books, which can be located through his website, http://johnikerd.com.