Citizens, Consumers and the Environment: Reflections on The Economy of the Earth
In The Economy of the Earth (1988) Mark Sagoff presents a sustained and deservedly influential attack on what I shall call the ‘economistic’ view of how decisions should be made about environmental issues, such as the protection of wilderness and landscapes, or of various species of plants or animals, the control of air and water pollution, and so on.2 This economistic approach does not consist of consigning such matters to the ‘decisions’ made by an unregulated market economy. Rather, it is espoused by those who recognize the frequent inability of markets to generate the ‘right’ decisions about the environment, but who none the less wish to deal with them by applying, in a suitably extended form, the conceptual framework of neo-classical economic theory to situations where the market itself fails to operate satisfactorily.
KeywordsEconomistic Approach Local Culture Political Debate Private Interest Environmental Decision
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