“We stress again that this is only a starting point.”

There’s so much I could go into about how wrong this paper is, but that’d be coming from an “activist” standpoint, so that viewpoint is moot. From a purely objective, “economically-scientific” standing, Costanza is highlighting a necessary evil: in a growing world, we’re going to sacrifice nature for our benefit. That is, as populations rise and as years go on, we’re going to need more space for housing, and a myriad of resources that only the natural environment can supply. Therefore, the areas mentioned in the paper will soon be destroyed and converted into something for the benefit of humankind – a different kind of benefit, however, since the areas in question are already providing some benefit to humanity in its untouched state. (Ex. A forest provides oxygen, but is cleared out for housing development.)

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the paper’s purpose, and again, it is a necessary evil no matter how cruel or heartless it appears from an activist standpoint. Certain natural habitats will have to be destroyed in the future – we’ve already seen this happen throughout history – ┬áso we might as well develop a complex system of better pricing the land we need to alter in order to make sure we’re only building things that won’t make us lose the money that is otherwise provided by the habitat if left untouched.

Given the age of the paper, it’s fine to suggest these ideas as a starting point for a valuation system like this. Acknowledging that we’ve been using systems of valuation when it comes to construction sites and the like bring up a valid point on how this is a necessary task. It’s going to happen, we’re already doing it, but why not make sure we tackle this from every possible angle to make sure we’re not shortchanging ourselves? Or nature, for that matter? The paper brings up the technique of valuing based on the ability to replicate them in a synthetic environment, which is fairly ridiculous. Sure, it’d be great to be able to just cut down all the rain forests on Earth and grow them on the moon, but the drastic shift in oxygen quality on Earth would mean that a large percentage of the population would have to go live in those synthetic environments, less they be deprived.

I’m sure more comprehensive systems have been developed by now, so it’s important to read this paper with the notion that it is just a starting point in valuing our entire world, not the final plan.

 

About Brian Boggio

BARBRA STREISAND, Fanny Brice -- In addition to having appeared off-Broad- way, on-Broadway and away-from-Broad- way in nightclubs, on television and on the concert stage, Barbra Streisand is the recipient of Cue Magazines's Entertainer Of The Year Award. A top recording star, a talented interior decorator, dress designer and portrait painter, she also plays field hockey. Her performance in the musical I Can Get It for Your Whole- sale stopped the show, and was much ad- mired by the critics, the public, and the show's leading man, Elliot Gould, who married her. Barbra is a follower of East- ern philosophy and cooking but also fa- vors TV dinners on occasion. She is a re- nowned collector of antique clothes, shoes, and fans. Her favorite flower is gardenia, since it is the only scent that can never be captured. Her favorite day of the week is Tuesday, since she devotes part of each Tuesday throughout the year to stringing crystal beads which are sold in a Vermont general store. She knows how to make coffee ice cream and to fix her own hair. For more personal information write to her mother.
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