John Foster's Valuing Nature?: Economics, Ethics and Environment PDF

By John Foster

ISBN-10: 0415129788

ISBN-13: 9780415129787

This quantity questions the dominant fiscal equipment of comparing the surroundings and asks what position economics should still play in surroundings our environmental ambitions. issues contain: a critique of neo-classical financial suggestion at the surroundings; environmental economics, associations and coverage; and moving environmental economics.

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Additional info for Valuing Nature?: Economics, Ethics and Environment

Sample text

But these days many economists are on the side of the angels. They are keen to develop new theoretical tools and methods of analysis which can help solve environmental problems. They argue that, since it is economic realities which dominate the imperatives of modern government, environmental priorities too need to be expressed in such terms. Only so, it is urged, will these priorities be taken seriously within government. Such economists see themselves, understandably, as friends of the environment.

The example of river pollution may be used to illustrate this difference between narrow and broad conceptions of externalities. Suppose a firm discharges its waste into a river, but that further down the river another firm makes use of this water for its own productive purposes. The effect of the first firm’s discharges is that the second firm has to purify the river water before using it. This is a straightforward case of market failure due to ‘narrow’ externalities: the first firm is imposing a cost on the second, but 32 VALUES AND PREFERENCES since this cost does not register in its own calculations, CBA may be used to modify the decision that would otherwise be made, and restore efficiency.

Market transactions take place without reference to the reasons for which consumers prefer what they ‘happen’ to prefer: the market is, as it were, indifferent to these, ‘blind to reasons’. All that matters in the market is the fact that consumers have—and act upon—preferences, and what these preferences are for; no notice is taken of the judgements they are based upon, let alone of whether these are justifiable. In particular, consumers’ access to their preferred or desired items does not depend on their being able to justify these preferences or desires to anyone—and certainly not to the producers who provide them.

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Valuing Nature?: Economics, Ethics and Environment by John Foster


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