Plural Values and Environmental Valuation

Wilfred Beckerman and Joanna Pasek

in Justice, Posterity, and the Environment

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245086
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598784 | DOI:
 Plural Values and Environmental Valuation

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This chapter discusses critically the main criticisms of the use of cost‐benefit analysis in environmental policy, such as the incommensurability of environmental values with the values born by marketable goods, and the related unreliability of estimates of peoples’ willingness to pay for environmental protection. While it is found that there is some strength in these criticisms, it is still necessary to take account of the resource constraint involved in decisions concerning public goods. Furthermore, a democratic society needs some impartial and transparent process for solving allocation problems. However, the need to reconcile the valid objections made by environmentalists to cost‐benefit analysis with the problems raised by resource constraints raises new problems of political theory and institutions.

Keywords: cost‐benefit analysis; environmental policy; environmental protection; environmental valuation; environmentalism; incommensurable values; public goods; resource allocation

Chapter.  10916 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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