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Neglected Features of the Safe Minimum Standard: Socio-economic and Institutional Dimensions

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  • Irmi Seidl
  • Clem Tisdell

Abstract

This article describes and critically investigates core features of the safe minimum standard of conservation (SMS), as outlined by Ciriacy-Wantrup, which have been neglected, de-emphasized or poorly interpreted. Different ensuing interpretations and developments of SMS, aimed at giving it a theoretical basis and operationalizing it, are scrutinized. It is shown that the definition of features such as irreversibility, uncertainty, threshold and critical zone imply a socio-economic and institutional approach of SMS. Hence, endeavors to find a formal and positive foundation (game theory) or to identify SMS as an adjunct to cost-benefit analysis are unsuccessful. Rather, approaches assigning the definition of acceptable resource use to politics and society conform with SMS (e.g. by political norm setting or societal discourse). Furthermore, the paper discusses close normative relatives of SMS and identifies intragenerational distributional justice as a crucial variable for setting SMS. It is argued that SMS is a socio-economic and institutional approach; this should be the basis for further discussion and development of SMS.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00346760110081553
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

Volume (Year): 59 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 417-442

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:59:y:2001:i:4:p:417-442

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Related research

Keywords: Safe Minimum Standard; Resource Conservation; Irreversibility; Game Theory; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Social Choice;

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References

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  1. Robert P. Berrens & David S. Brookshire & Michael McKee & Christian Schmidt, 1998. "Implementing the Safe Minimum Standard Approach: Two Case Studies from the U.S. Endangered Species Act," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(2), pages 147-161.
  2. Michael C. Farmer & Alan Randall, 1998. "The Rationality of a Safe Minimum Standard," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(3), pages 287-302.
  3. Bryan G. Norton & Michael A. Toman, 1997. "Sustainability: Ecological and Economic Perspectives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 553-568.
  4. Crowards, Tom M., 1998. "Safe Minimum Standards: costs and opportunities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-314, June.
  5. Daly, Herman E., 1992. "Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 185-193, December.
  6. Tisdell, Clem, 1970. " Implications of Learning for Economic Planning," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 177-92.
  7. O'Hara, Sabine U., 1996. "Discursive ethics in ecosystems valuation and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 95-107, February.
  8. Palmini, Dennis, 1999. "Uncertainty, risk aversion, and the game theoretic foundations of the safe minimum standard: a reassessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 463-472, June.
  9. Charles Perrings & David Pearce, 1994. "Threshold effects and incentives for the conservation of biodiversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 13-28, February.
  10. Sagoff, M., 1998. "Aggregation and deliberation in valuing environmental public goods:: A look beyond contingent pricing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 213-230, February.
  11. Tisdell, Clem, 1990. "Economics and the debate about preservation of species, crop varieties and genetic diversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 77-90, April.
  12. Timothy O'Riordan & Andrew Jordan, 1995. "The Precautionary Principle in Contemporary Environmental Politics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 4(3), pages 191-212, August.
  13. Rolfe, John, 1995. "Ulysses Revisited - A Closer Look At The Safe Minimum Standard Rule," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(01), April.
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Cited by:
  1. Tisdell, Clement A., 2002. "Socioeconomic Causes of Loss of Animal Genetic Diversity: Analysis and Assessment," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 48741, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  2. Bandara, Ranjith & Tisdell, Clement A., 2003. "Willingness to pay for different degrees of Abundance of Elephants," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 48966, University of Queensland, School of Economics.

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