IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Bulldozing Biodiversity: The Economics of Optimal Extinction

Listed author(s):
  • Clive L. Spash

    ()

Many conservationists have become enamoured with mainstream economic concepts and approaches, described as pragmatic replacements for appeals to ethics and direct regulation. Trading biodiversity using offsets is part of the resulting push for market governance that is promoted as a more efficient means of Nature conservation. In critically evaluationg this position I start by explaining the assumptions behind biodiversity and ecosystem valuation and how economic logic legitimises, rather than prevents, ongoing habitat destruction and treats species extinction as optimal. Biodiversity offsets provide a means for operationalising trade-offs that are in the best interests of developers and make false claims to adding productive new economic activity. Contrary to the argument that economic logic frees conservation from ethics, I expose the ethical premises required for economists to justify public policy support for offsets. Finally, various issues in offset design are raised and placed in the context of a political struggle over the meaning of Nature. The overall message is that, if conservationists continue down the path of conceptualising the world as in mainstream economic textbooks they will be forced from one compromise to another, ultimately losing their ability to conserve or protect anything. They will also be abandoning the rich and meaningful human relationships with Nature that have been their raison d’être.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/sre-disc/sre-disc-2015_01.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business in its series SRE-Disc with number sre-disc-2015_01.

as
in new window

Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2015_01
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria

Web page: http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/mlgd/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The Shallow or the Deep Ecological Economics Movement?," SRE-Discussion Papers 3918, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  2. Spash, Clive L. & Vatn, Arild, 2006. "Transferring environmental value estimates: Issues and alternatives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 379-388, December.
  3. Hausman,Daniel M., 2008. "The Philosophy of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521709842, December.
  4. Wolfgang Fellner & Clive L. Spash, 2014. "The Illusion of Consumer Sovereignity in Economic and Neoliberal Thought," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2014_02, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  5. Clive L Spash, 2008. "Contingent Valuation Design and Data Treatment: If You Can't Shoot the Messenger, Change the Message," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 26(1), pages 34-53, February.
  6. Spash, Clive L. & Urama, Kevin & Burton, Rob & Kenyon, Wendy & Shannon, Peter & Hill, Gary, 2009. "Motives behind willingness to pay for improving biodiversity in a water ecosystem: Economics, ethics and social psychology," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 955-964, February.
  7. Clive L. Spash, 2009. "The New Environmental Pragmatists, Pluralism and Sustainability," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(3), pages 253-256, August.
  8. Hausman,Daniel M., 2008. "The Philosophy of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521883504, December.
  9. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, Nick, 1995. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 191-208, March.
  10. Maresova, Jana & Frynta, Daniel, 2008. "Noah's Ark is full of common species attractive to humans: The case of boid snakes in zoos," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 554-558, January.
  11. Spash, Clive L., 2002. "Informing and forming preferences in environmental valuation: Coral reef biodiversity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 665-687, October.
  12. Spash, Clive L., 2000. "Ecosystems, contingent valuation and ethics: the case of wetland re-creation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 195-215, August.
  13. Ryan, Anthony M. & Spash, Clive L., 2011. "Is WTP an attitudinal measure? Empirical analysis of the psychological explanation for contingent values," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 674-687.
  14. Jack Knetsch, 2005. "Gains, Losses, and the US-EPA Economic Analyses Guidelines: A Hazardous Product?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 91-112, 09.
  15. Clive L. Spash, 2008. "How Much is that Ecosystem in the Window? The One with the Bio-diverse Trail," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 17(2), pages 259-284, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2015_01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.