A firm grip on nature: The economic case for environmental personhood.
Kahui, Viktoria; Armstrong, Claire W.; Aanesen, Margrethe
Nature is declining at unprecedented rates. We posit that the external effects of ecosystem degradation can be understood as a lack of property rights of stakeholders advocating on behalf of future generations and the intrinsic value of natural systems. The attempt to capture such property rights represents a transaction cost that is borne by environmental, indigenous and climate change movements. A number of environments worldwide have now been accorded Environmental Personhood (EP). We link the evolution of EP as nature’s equivalent of the firm to the history of corporations as legal entities. An economic case can be made for EPs to allow for 1) the objective of capturing total economic value subject to protecting the environment’s intrinsic value which is represented by the capability of the natural system to maintain its ecosystem functions; 2) a property rights structure opening for ecosystem trade-offs among stakeholders, including those advocating on behalf of the environment and future generations; and 3) interactions among stakeholders that mediate transaction costs.
Publisher: University of Otago
Series: Economics Discussion Papers
Series number: 2104
Keywords: Environmental Personhood; Intrinsic Value; Stakeholder Trade-offs; Transaction Cost
Research Type: Discussion Paper
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