Sagoff begins with philosopher John Locke's observation about the comparative value of an acre of land in Great Britain and one in America. Both could produce twenty bushels of wheat with the same effort and so "are, without doubt, of the natural intrinsic value." However, the one in Britain was cultivated, yielding 5 pounds in value, whereas the one in America was left uncultivated and, as a consequence, was "possibly not worth a penny." Sagoff's point is that "many ecologically minded economists today describe as 'ecosystem services' or as 'natural capital' what Locke called the 'natural, intrinsic value' of land." Locke, a proponent of the labor theory of value, argued that the value that land produced was largely the result of people mixing their labor with it.
Similarly, Sagoff argues that while modern ecological economists would certainly not endorse the labor theory of value, they do "generally accept the idea that economic value represents or refers to an intrinsic or inherent essence to which they attach normative significance."
Sagoff agrees with Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek that tying to calculate allegedly objective values using some non-monetary measure is beyond the scope of human knowledge.
To put it another way, prices result from scarcity. In general, the greater the supply, the more demand will be satisfied at lower prices. When total demand is satisfied with available supplies, there is no price.
Nevertheless, appealing to ersatz economic calculation is, as Sagoff declares, "the most self-defeating path environmentalists can take." Instead, ecological economists should devote more time to bringing more of the natural world within the ambit of the market system.
środa, 25 marca 2009
Natura nie ma wartości ekonomicznej
Reason Magazine ma świetny artykuł Ronalda Baileya o krytyce Marka Sagoffa ekonomii ekologicznej, a w szczególności przypisywania naturze ceny pieniężnej.