We Need Tough Laws to Protect the Environment Essay examples

We Need Tough Laws to Protect the Environment Essay examples

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With Adam Smith and Milton Friedman among its illustrious fathers, the theory of the free market is a widely accepted and respected one today in America. It advocates the concept of a market as a self-regulating entity. By the working of natural principles such as free competition, consumer sovereignty, and maximization of the individuals' self-interest, the market is able to decide the allocation, utilization, and distribution of resources most fairly and efficiently. This characteristic of the market, known as the "Invisible Hand", is constantly hailed as one of the most imperative mechanisms of a capitalistic economy.

At the same time, it is recognized that the free market does have its few but important limitations, the most notable of which are the natural emergence of monopoly, the existence of positive and negative externalities, the need for public goods that would not be provided by the market. Such instances necessitate the interference from institutions outside of the market, most commonly the government.

The degradation of the earth's environment belongs to the last two groups of market failure types. Most proponents of the free market acknowledge that a clean environment can be considered as a public good because it defies the exclusionary principle; and that conversely, environmental degradation is a negative externality. Thus, a certain reasonable degree of outside intervention is required for the cause of environmental protection. The definition of this "reasonable level of outside interference" may vary depending on personal beliefs, but generally it can be characterized as "the less, the better." Private organizations' efforts are emphasized and preferred to governmental regulations and restrictions. Even w...


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... Environmental Racism. Crisis in American Institutions. Edited by Jerome H. Skolnick and Elliot Currie. Allyn and Bacon. 2000.

Commoner, Barry. "Why We Have Failed." Crisis in American Institutions. Edited by Jerome H. Skolnick and Elliot Currie. Allyn and Bacon. 2000.
"Free Market Environmentalism". Edited by Robert Knautz. Policy Spotlight. Volume 1. Number 5. May-June 1997.

Gelbspan, Ross. The Heat Is On. Crisis in American Institutions. Edited by Jerome H. Skolnick and Elliot Currie. Allyn and Bacon. 2000.
Inter Press Service. "Big Corporations are Getting Bigger and Personal". December 4, 2000. March 5, 2001.

"Origins of Fossil Fuel Disinformation Campaigns". The Heat Is Online. March 5, 2001.
Snell, Bradford Curie. "American Ground Transport". Transport. 1973. Ideas & Institutions in American Society Course Reader, New York University. Spring 2001.

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