This paper first identifies the main trends which have operated in the countryside of Great Britain since 1950, assessing the costs and benefits of these to different countryside interest-groups. This section concludes that the British countryside since World War II has been more or less willingly sacrificed for material affluence.
The paper then relates this process to economic activity, and in particular to the linear-model of such activity which is posited as currently dominant, together with the principal objectives which it is used to promote. This situation is compared with a circular economic model with different objectives. The comparison yields the conclusion that such a model would yield significant improvements over the linear model in terms of countryside diversity, amenity, and sustainability. The paper then moves on to a consideration of resources, and contrasts the different values given to different resources depending on the economic model which is being employed.
The final conclusion of the paper is that while renewable resources — many of them located in or deriving from the countryside — would seem to have much economic potential, the extent to which that potential will be sustainably realized will depend on the extent to which the circular economic model, and the values and objectives underlying it, replace the linear model in economic decision-making.