April 23, 2005

Your Turn: Seeing the Forest for the Fees


There’s green and then there’s green.  (As if it would still be true.)

I don’t believe that the paper published earlier this year — “The Death of Environmentalism” — critiquing the green movement from the inside, was intended as a capitulation.  If I’ve got it right, however, pro-development and pro-business interests have seized on this critical analysis to confirm that environmentalism is dead. 

In the case of The Economist, they use this assumption as the jumping off point to dictate (and establish) future terms for all things ecological.  According to these guys, every future environmental initiative is destined to have the word “market” attached to it.  For example, the “answer” to climate change is to institute a “market-based” carbon-emissions trading system.  If there is trouble policing fisheries because the oceans belong to everybody, why not establish property rights.  The new mantra is “nature at a price” — with the future reduced to:

…data-based, analytically rigorous policies rather than pious appeals to “save the planet”….

Compared to the more subtle previous TE cover — in which the flat tax was represented by a steam iron — this photo-illustration seems desperate to make a point.  Maybe though, the photo editors got into more of a thicket than they thought.

Let The Economist rescue environmentalism, and the planet.  Someone else please rescue this image!


(Because BAG Analysts often prefer source evidence for those finer inspections, here is the full size version.)

(Go here for the TE editorial; and here for the TE feature article on Environmental Economics.  By the way, you might also have comments on the more “heavy handed” illustration that accompanies the feature piece.  In the case of the ram, doesn’t it seem like he’s been cut off at the wrist?  I also have questions about what’s going on at the desk.  Is this an exchange of cash, or could it be that “tree man” got the shake down?)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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