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Neo-classical solutions to pollution

Posted by Jenn Gangne on December 12, 2000 at 14:09:44:

I found it interesting (and somewhat disheartening) that companies can find ways around two liberal neo-classical solutions to pollution; regulation and "the market way." With regard to regulation (varying degrees of government intervention in enforcing the laws against public "bads," depending on the severity of the transgression), companies often look at the probabilities of getting caught and, and then the probabilities of getting convicted if caught, and then weighing the costs of punishment to determine whether it would be more beneficial to keep polluting illegally or not. It is unfornutate to think that the dollar signs of the situation outweigh the social implications of their actions when determining a proper course of action. Similarly with the "market way" (allocating pollution credits on a yearly basis to companies)of attempting to solve the problem of pollution, companies can buy and sell pollution credits, creating a market for pollution. This also creates the dillemma of monitoring the transference of pollution credits, and with companies outnumbering EPA officials' capabilities, it is very hard to keep track of effectively. Once again, there is a clash between weighing the social implications of the actions versus the "dollar sign" implications of the action, and too frequently, the "dollar sign" wins out.

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