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Justice, Posterity, and the Environment$
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Wilfred Beckerman and Joanna Pasek

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245086

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199245088.001.0001

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The Intrinsic Value of the Environment

The Intrinsic Value of the Environment

(p.127) 8 The Intrinsic Value of the Environment
Justice, Posterity, and the Environment

Wilfred Beckerman

Joanna Pasek

Oxford University Press

Generations are not homogeneous entities and are composed of individuals and nations that have conflicting interests in the way in which resources are allocated among competing uses. This chapter discusses whether ‘the environment’, or ‘nature’, should enjoy special status in any allocation; whether the economist's approach is too anthropocentric; the concept of ‘intrinsic’ values; and the application of these concepts to environmental valuation. It is argued that while many environmental assets are ‘public goods’, so that the free market is unlikely to supply the socially optimal amount, the same applies to many other things, such as public health or education services or the arts, not to mention the fact that most people in the world are, anyway, in dire need of a simple increase in their ability to buy simple basic private goods. This means that the allocation of resources to environmental objectives ought to take into account some form of cost‐benefit analysis.

Keywords:   anthropocentrism, cost‐benefit analysis, environmental valuation, free market, intrinsic values, nature, private goods, public goods, resource allocation

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