For Further Understanding

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  • Reference
  • Here are some books and websites that provide more information on Prof. Herman Daly's activities. These are written for students of high school age and older, so some content may be challenging, but give it a try!

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Herman Daly's Pyramid shows that the purpose of the economy should be to bring people happiness. Prof. Daly also pointed out that economic growth does not always lead to well-being of humans.
Here we show an example of economic growth that brought people unhappiness. We hope this example will give you a good chance to think about the environment around you.

In the American state of Louisiana, where Prof. Daly once lived, there is an area referred to as the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In that area, there is too little oxygen to support marine life. It is like a desert in the ocean. (A desert though can at least support some life.)
Dead zones develop when massive amounts of nutrients and other materials wash into the ocean. Fertilizers used on farms and golf courses, waste water discharged from sewage treatment plants, and many other substances generated by human activities flow into the ocean via rivers. Excessive amounts of phosphorus and other nutrients trigger algae blooms. During the bacterial decomposition of dead algae, oxygen in the water is consumed, causing a loss of oxygen, which is vital to the survival of fish, shellfish, and other marine life. In Japan, this phenomenon is called red tide.

In 2021, the size of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone reached 16,000 km2, an area larger than the Bahamas.

Map showing dead zones.

Map of measured Gulf hypoxia zone, July 25-31, 2021. (LUMCON/NOAA)

The expansion of farmland might have made it possible to harvest more crops, and brought more money to farmers. People living towns might have been happy to have golf courses to enjoy in their free time. At the same time, however, it has almost depleted the oxygen in the water, killing fish and other marine life, and has had a significantly negative influence on the fisheries. Are we happy with this result? After you read this story of Prof. Daly, please think about the appropriate balance between expanding the economy and caring for people and the environment.
Fortunately, in the area of the Gulf of Mexico, the government and farmers are now working together to deal with the dead zone issues.




Blue Planet Prize
Affiliated/ Research Institutions
Research & Projects


  • Books written by Prof. Herman Daly
  • Steady-State Economics (2nd ed.)
  • Island Press (1991)
    ISBN: 978-1559630719
  • For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future (2nd updated and expanded ed.)
  • Beacon Press (1994)
    ISBN: 978-0807047057
  • Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development
  • Beacon Press (1996)
    ISBN: 978-0807047095


Prof. Herman Daly