Read Complete Research Material




Part 1

There is one environmental vision, and only one, that is compatible with all other human values. Only a vision that recognizes and responds to universal human traits will be successful in the long run. Only a vision that accounts for the reality of individual self- interest can be applied in the real world. Only a vision that sees value in human diversity as well as ecological diversity can capture the entrepreneurial potential of the human race. That vision is free-market environmentalism.

America has long been known as a nation where private homes and backyards are beautiful but politically managed parks and streets are a mess. For some the answer is to raise taxes to better support the "cash starved" public sector. For others the answer will be found in stringent regulations covering every aspect of modern society. A better approach would be to discover what makes homes and backyards beautiful and apply the lessons to problem areas. Rather than bureaucratize the environment, we should privatize our efforts to protect the environment. In other words, environmental values must be fully integrated into the free-enterprise system. One might say that trees should not have legal standing, but behind every tree should stand a private steward, a private owner, willing and legally enabled to protect that resource.

This vision of an America engaged in creative ecological privatization may be radical, but it offers great promise of lasting success in dealing with the ever-changing circumstances of human interaction with the natural world (Watson and Emery 2004 124-225). Not only is this vision applicable to environmental protection, it is compatible with the traditional American respect for individual liberty.

Part 2

Current environmental policies reflect the false assumptions of the recent past: that the natural environment is benign, that the economy can grow without using resources, that once mankind has touched a wilderness it is forever ruined, and that political actors can best protect environmental amenities. Of the many erroneous assumptions, the most widespread has been that stringent government regulations could eliminate pollution without significant economic cost. One result of basing policy on that myth has been the growth of special-interest environmental politics. Special- interest bees will always find the political honey, and the average citizen will usually get stung. For example, tremendous profits are available to corporations that capture the regulatory process and turn it into a barrier to competitors.

For similar reasons, a strong incentive exists for environmental groups to find a crisis within each issue, from the nonexistent health risk to children from pesticide residues on vegetables to the greatly exaggerated effects of so-called acid rain on forests and lakes. By constantly claiming that the sky is falling, the environmentalist Chicken Littles have become geese that lay golden eggs (Emery 2002 58-324). Contributions from philanthropic foundations and sincerely concerned individuals are used to purchase political power and to support massive bureaucratic empires. A mutually beneficial arrangement has been created among some industries and the environmental lobbying elite. Presiding over it all is the permanent political ...
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