Saturday, 30 October 2010

Economically valuing 'ecosystem services': a triumph for ecological economics, or merely for capitalism?

These two dramatic developments in recent days [see links below], especially that at Nagoya, seem to offer great hope. But are they really as good news as they appear? As argued in my paper in THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GREEN ECONOMICS a couple of years ago (http://www.rupertread.fastmail.co.uk/Economics_is_philosophy%20full%20length.doc ), I am deeply concerned that the sudden move to accepting the financial valuation of ecosystem services (1) embraces a brand of anthropocentrism that in fact aims stand opposed to ecocentrism (because the financial numbers are all based on capitalist economics, which attributes no real value to nature, only to human wants), (2) delegitimises moves to value nature on other grounds (once we have a number attached to nature, won't people who say that it is priceless be told not just that they are merely sentimentalising, but that they are factually mistaken?), (3) is incoherent and so vulnerable to attack (because nature - and ourselves - IS/ARE priceless: it is literally absurd to put a price on a breathable atmosphere, etc.), (4) involves a pernicious set of propagandistic linguistic manoeuvres (are they 'ecosystem services' or are they the ecology of nature, of life itself?).
 
 
 
Discuss.
 
 

1 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

I couldn't agree more, here's my thoughts
http://www.10waystosavetheworld.net/nagoya-teeb-and-george-monbiot

20 November 2010 at 11:06  

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: Economically valuing 'ecosystem services': a triumph for ecological economics, or merely for capitalism? 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. Economically valuing 'ecosystem services': a triumph for ecological economics, or merely for capitalism? 27. 28.

29.
These two dramatic developments in recent days [see links below], especially that at Nagoya, seem to offer great hope. But are they really as good news as they appear? As argued in my paper in THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GREEN ECONOMICS a couple of years ago (http://www.rupertread.fastmail.co.uk/Economics_is_philosophy%20full%20length.doc ), I am deeply concerned that the sudden move to accepting the financial valuation of ecosystem services (1) embraces a brand of anthropocentrism that in fact aims stand opposed to ecocentrism (because the financial numbers are all based on capitalist economics, which attributes no real value to nature, only to human wants), (2) delegitimises moves to value nature on other grounds (once we have a number attached to nature, won't people who say that it is priceless be told not just that they are merely sentimentalising, but that they are factually mistaken?), (3) is incoherent and so vulnerable to attack (because nature - and ourselves - IS/ARE priceless: it is literally absurd to put a price on a breathable atmosphere, etc.), (4) involves a pernicious set of propagandistic linguistic manoeuvres (are they 'ecosystem services' or are they the ecology of nature, of life itself?).
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11642538
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kiyotaka-akasaka/natural-value-at-bargain_b_776223.html
 
Discuss.
 
 
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