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Submitted by Dave on
For many years I also thought it was important to put prices on nature in order to get the economy to recognize its worth. But after witnessing the 2008 financial meltdown and financial takeover of food and energy commodity markets, I have changed my mind. While I think that people like Ms. Kyte are well meaning, I think they are more than a bit naive in relation to the power and influence of large investors around the world. These speculators are actively helping to create these new ecosystem markets, not as a way to save the planet, but as a way to get back to the 15-20 percent returns they became accustomed to in the 1980s and 90s. Once a price (or value) has been defined for water, species, habitats, etc. Wall Street will rapidly create derivatives and other schemes to dominate those markets. As speculators benefit from highly volatile prices, that will likely be one result. But perhaps more critically, the pricing (or "valuing") of nature will result in a transfer of power over how land is used around the world. Instead of local people who live in an area being the ones who define how that land is used or preserved, those decisions will be in the hands of large investors looking for the quickest way to make a buck. A better way to manage the parts of nature that remain is through Commons management techniques. Elinor Ostrom, a Nobel economist who recently passed away, has done extensive research into the wide variety of examples of communities using commons management techniques around the world. This system of management is much more likely to result in the sustainable and equitable use of our remaining resources. I encourage Ms. Kyte to explore these ideas further as a better alternative to financializing nature.

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