First Post!

First Post!

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Hi there! Welcome to my first ever blog, “Maine’s Riches.” The idea here is to write about the connection between Maine’s economy and its environment. For those of you familiar with Maine, you know that it is a place of both spectacular beauty and rural poverty. Some say that there are “two Maines”: northern Maine, typically seen as rural, under populated, resource-dependent, with a long history of employment in resource-related manufacturing; and southern Maine, which has sometimes been called a suburb of Boston (and, indeed, parts of York County are actually counted as part of the Greater Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Like many in-migrants to the state (dare I say that I’m from Connecticut, originally?), I live in Southern Maine, but do a lot of vacationing (camping, hiking) in northern Maine.

I’m also very conscious of class issues, and I have to admit that sometimes the tensions between conservation and (seeming) economic pragmatism can make me a little uncomfortable. I know that there are many, many people in Maine who make their living from the earth- not just fishing, or farming, but mining, or harnessing the rivers for power, for example. There’s a tension between people who want to conserve resources, and those whose livelihoods depend on those resources.

I’m an economics professor. My specialty is environmental and natural resource economics, and right there, I straddle two different worlds. I’ve had people ask me, “what does the environment have to do with the economy?” Environmentalists view me with suspicion because, as my late father would have said (although I’m sure someone said it before him),”an economist knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Economists (at least neo-classical economists) view me with suspicion because I don’t believe the unfettered market is the answer to all our woes. So I guess you could say I’m comfortable with that tension.

For me, this blog will hopefully do several things. First, I hope it will help me to organize my thinking around the connections between Maine’s economy and its environment, and perhaps how that relationship is changing over time. Just about every day, there is an article in the paper or on the news about some link between the two systems: the economic (human) system and the environmental (natural) system.  I hope to blog, if not every day, then at least a few days a week.

I also hope to write a book on this topic someday ( there, I’ve written it down for the world to see!). Writing a book feels intimidating, though, so perhaps if I just think of it as a blog right now it will be less frightening. We’ll see!

4 Replies to “First Post!”

  1. Way to go RB! I look forward to frequently checking in and keeping up with your opinions and observations. – Sam Gorgone

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