Economizing on nature’s bounty

Authored by: Lisa Heinzerling

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827738
eBook ISBN: 9781315530215
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530208


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One way to try to answer these questions is to determine how much a given quantum of biodiversity is worth in monetary terms and to compare that value to the cost of protecting it. A standard framework for making this comparison is cost–benefit analysis. In fact, under executive orders issued by United States presidents over the last several decades, cost–benefit analysis has become the executive branch’s dominant evaluative framework for federal agencies’ rules, including rules aimed at protecting biodiversity (Heinzerling 2014). It is thus worth paying attention to cost–benefit analysis and the signals it sends about the reasons for protecting biodiversity and the proper extent of our commitment to it.

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