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post-autistic economics review, issue no. 41 True cost environmental accounting for a post-autistic economy

By David A. Bainbridge


(Alliant International University, USA) © Copyright: David A. Bainbridge It has become clear in recent years that environmental policy must do more than simply combat harmful substances or put a filter on each exhaust or waste pipe to reduce pollutants to an “acceptable level. ” The catalytic converter is a good example of the problem, with almost 3 tons of non-renewable resources invested in each one (Schmidt-Bleek 1998, 1999). We need to rethink production to make it cleaner and more sustainable by improving our accounting (Bainbridge, 2006). As the eminent British economist A.C. Pigou (1920) noted early in the last century, the market will fail unless it includes all costs. If the market were complete, any attempt at separate environmental and social accounting would not be necessary, and Milton Friedman’s (1970) dictum, “A company’s only responsibility is to increase profits for stockholders ” might suffice. However, the flawed and incomplete market we have today, with enormous uncounted costs and incorrectly attributed costs, performs very poorly. It considers only a small fraction of the total transaction cost, leaving many “externalities ” out of the picture (Bainbridge 1983, 2004, 2006; Antheaume, 2004). If full costs were known many current market transactions would not occur, and we would face a much more hopeful, secure and sustainabl

Year: 2014
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