How Economics May Reshape Green Policy

Even though “economy” and “ecology” come from the same Greek root – “oikos,” or “house” – reconciling the marketplace and nature has never been easy.

One measures things in dollars and cents. The other sees the world more intangibly, sometimes ineffably.

For this reason, it’s always been an uphill fight for environmentalists arguing to protect the landscape, save an obscure species from extinction, or clean up the air and water. Opponents are quick to rebut with bottom-line statistics about jobs lost and productivity harmed.

It came as a surprise, therefore, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently declared that environmental regulations are good for the economy. [more]

How did this one manage to get past the ruthlessly anti-clean air and water White House censors? Oh yea, they musta had other things on their mind. You see? When the evil henchmen currently running this country don’t stop it, the US government can actually do something good for the people. The US government is full of a lot of great and talented and truly compassionate people, folks. I know, I used to work there myself. My father dedicated his whole life to it, as did his wife; my mother spent some time there, as did her third husband, her mother and father, too (after he came back from WWII–had been in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed). So in this case, the OMB in announcing that a clean environment was better for the economy seemed to get it right. We should applaud them for it.

Unless, of course, it isn’t what it seems.

Anyway, this is a fascinating topic for me–the merging of a fervently pro-environmental stance with a pro-robust economy is a real intellectual growth area coming up: calling healthy minds . . .