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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Plural Values and Environmental Valuation

Wilfred Beckerman and Joanna Pasek

Environmental Values 6(1997): 65-86. doi: 10.3197/096327197776679202

The paper discusses some of the criticisms of contingent valuation (CV) and allied techniques for estimating the intensity of peoples' preferences for the environment. The weakness of orthodox utilitarian assumptions in economics concerning the commensurability of all items entering into peoples' choices is discussed. The concept of commensurability is explored as is the problem of rational choice between incommensurate alternatives. While the frequent claim that the environment has some unique moral intrinsic value is unsustainable, its preservation often raises ethical and other motivations that are not commensurate with the values that people place on ordinary marketable goods. Nevertheless, CV is also claimed to have some advantages and it is concluded that little progress will be made in this area until both sides in the debate recognise what is valid in their opponents' arguments.


KEYWORDS: Environmental values, contingent valuation, commensurability, cost-benefit analysis, utilitarianism

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Existence Value, Welfare and Altruism. Jonathan Aldred

Citizens, Consumers and the Environment: Reflections on The Economy of the Earth. Russell Keat

Economists' Preferences and the Preferences of Economists. Bryan G. Norton

Four Dogmas of Environmental Economics. Mark Sagoff

What is the Value of Rangitoto Island? Dan Vadnjal and Martin O'Connor

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Humans Valuing Nature: Synthesising Insights from Philosophy, Psychology and Economics. Michael Lockwood

The Indifference Curve, Motivation, and Morality in Contingent Valuation Rob Hart and Uwe Latacz-Lohmann

Realms of Value: Conflicting Natural Resource Values and Incommensurability. Sarah Fleisher Trainor

Non-Market Coordination: Towards an Ecological Response to Austrian Economics. Dan Greenwood



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