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Nature_and_Environment.28

Human Ecology

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{Nature_and_Environment.28.22}: Richard Witty {gisland} Wed, 27 Oct 2004 19:36:50 CDT (63 lines)

It depends on what you call philosophical.

Economics is largely a reconciliation of what is limited. (For
example things become "economic goods" only when they are
functionally finite.)

I expect that you've experienced some realities as not being economic
goods (not finite), and due to side effects of others economic
activities, they've threatened to make those formerly free goods (no
reason to buy and sell because they are infinite) into economic goods
(bought and sold).

So, wilds used to be free space, but now there is so few of them,
there are now fees to get into unencumbered parks. Or fresh water
used to be free, or sunlight that doesn't cause skin cancer, or fresh
air.

Now economic goods.


And, on the other hand, items that are still considered free for the
taking (timber or oil or minerals) should be very expensive economic
goods, that are costly to extract, and therefore would be extracted
only carefully, if at all.

Its a form of cultural conflict as much as anything.

The ONLY way that wilds/ecology will survive the marketplace is if
they are attributed their own property rights, and genuine
representation of them. Existential value embodied in a trust.

The US government is obviously a failing steward. Patchwork privately
owned land alternating with leased land. Not stewardship, no
validation of the rights of wilds, even "represented" by a
public/social entity.


Value is a difficult thing, as it varies from person to person, and
definitely should. What you value (in every sense of the word) is and
should be different from what others value; with the exception of
meta-values like "live and let live". But, as far as reconciling what
is relatively important to you, will always be different from what is
important to someone else.

In that sense, the marketplace reconciles those variabilities. People
choose differently, are willing to pay differently for the same worth.


There is a concept that is a bit of a monkey wrench. That is that
people also have variable abilities to enjoy. Everyone seeks
survival, but others actually experience great value from simple and
complex things.

So you end up with absurdities like someone spending $ of thousands
on products that they don't even enjoy, or don't have the physical
capacity or enjoyment education to appreciate; while hundreds others
may realize really enormous improvement in their lives from one
thousand of those same $.

I like Paul Hawken's "famous" quote. "The free market would be
wonderful." meaning a truly mature and highly functional marketplace
valuing the wilds, valuing externalities, valuing experiential value,
valuing some existential equality.

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