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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Economic Valuation and Environmental Values

Michael Prior

Environmental Values 7(1998): 423-441. doi: 10.3197/096327198129341654

The origins of both economic and philosophical value theory are examined and shown to be closely related. The status of neo-classical value theory is that it is internally flawed in any attempt to describe the real world. Cost-benefit analysis as it applies to the valuation of environmental agents relies upon the claim that this neo-classical theory has a particular status in optimal welfare maximisation and, therefore, suffers the same problems of internal consistency. Economic valuation of the environment is not a scientific process derived from external law but a social process relying upon social agreement. Alternatives to economic valuation are considered and may possess a more plausible social base. However, all environmental valuation is at odds with beliefs based upon the existence of objective and intrinsic values.

KEYWORDS: economics, axiology, values, cost-benefit analysis, environmental assessment

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

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

Discourse Ethics and Nature.Angelika Krebs

Democratising Nature?. The Political Morality of Wilderness Preservationists. Michael Mason

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

Four Dogmas of Environmental Economics. Mark Sagoff

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

The Disvalue of 'Contingent Valuation' and the Problem of the 'Expectation Gap' Laura Westra

Teleological Presuppositions, and the 'Expectation Gap': A Response to Laura Westra Peter Lucas

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

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