Research Proposal: Economics and the Environment Although Terry L

Pages: 4 (1394 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Economics  ·  Buy This Paper

Economics and the Environment

Although Terry L. Anderson and Donald R. Leal published their book, Free Market Environmentalism (Revised Edition) in 2001, nearly nine years ago, a great deal of the material is aptly suited and relevant in 2009. Their chapters are extremely well thought out and for the most part balanced between the stewardship of the natural world and the financially viable realities of the American economic system -- and how those two concepts clash or produce cooperation. There are a full 28 pages of footnote references in the back of the book, with very thorough reference information presented. The authors portray real issues and offer seemingly workable solutions, albeit their generalizations are sometimes too sweeping. For example, just about "everyone accepts" that managers in the private sector "would dump production wastes into a nearby stream if they did not have to pay for the costs of their actions" (Anderson, et al., p. 11).

An informed and alert person recognizes that above-mentioned passage as unfair because -- while there are no percentages available -- no doubt there are today many managers who would be environmentally informed and would never give a moment's thought to dumping waste in a stream. However, Anderson quickly presents a further argument on pages 10-11 that "incentives" serve to protect the environment and the business end by guiding "human behavior" in the right direction. In other words, "Good intentions" are certainly not enough when it comes to decisions that impact a policy based on political dynamics. To wit, if a park superintendent sees that setting aside more Grizzly Bear habitat is more valuable then addition camping spaces that is all well and good but if commercial interests in that market have influenced the political control over the park -- which they often do -- the campsites will be built and the bears can find another place to hang out. As Anderson explains (p. 26), in Free Market environmentalism entrepreneurs will move "to fill profit niches" and the prices will reflect the value placed on both resources and the environment. This is a key to Anderson's book; in other words, when those additional campsites are build in the Grizzly Bear habitat, they will likely cost more because of the value placed on the resources (i.e., proximity to bears) and the environment (just being in the park is worth a certain about of money for visitors).

On the subject of incentives (a constant theme in the book) the authors describe a critically important aspect of free market environmentalism on pages 172-180 ("Purity vs. Pragmatism"). Entrepreneurial pragmatists are giving incentives to private landowners to preserve lands and endangered species; for example, the Nature Conservancy (NC) has been paying farmers in Indiana "to help them purchase equipment needed for low-erosion tillage" and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is paying Texas ranchers "to trap and remove cowbirds that invade the nests of rare songbirds" (Anderson, p. 172). The Nature Conservancy is clearly among the most visible and powerful free market environmental groups; in 2008 NC launched a program to plant a billion trees in the Atlantic Forest, that now contains only 7% of its original forested area. The NC also bought land or made trades that resulted in the preservation of 2,728,993 acres around the world (www.nature.org). Those kinds of actions reflect free market environmentalism at its best.

Anderson's book is rich with examples of how private property owners and conservation groups -- along with government support in some cases -- have collaborated to preserve and protect species and habitat. However, when it comes to oil exploration, cooperation between energy companies, the federal government, and conservation groups is rarely to be found. Even though the development of oil resources offshore brings "increased economic activity, higher incomes, and a higher tax base" (Anderson, p. 79) there is frequently stiff opposition to drilling offshore. That community opposition is often based on the risks to tourism, fishing, and marine life. Despite evidence that oil and gas production fattens a local economy and can be done safely in most cases and not interfere with wildlife -- such as the elk in Michigan's Pigeon River forest that returned once drilling was completed… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Economics and the Environment Although Terry L.  (2009, November 30).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economics-environment-although-terry/7199025

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"Economics and the Environment Although Terry L."  30 November 2009.  Web.  21 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economics-environment-although-terry/7199025>.

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"Economics and the Environment Although Terry L."  Essaytown.com.  November 30, 2009.  Accessed July 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/economics-environment-although-terry/7199025.