Controlling Pollution: The Economics of a Cleaner America

Controlling Pollution: The Economics of a Cleaner America

Controlling Pollution: The Economics of a Cleaner America

Controlling Pollution: The Economics of a Cleaner America

Excerpt

Today's news media devote almost as much attention to air and water pollution as to the problems of poverty. Virtually overnight pollution seems to have become one of America's major issues. To the economist the problem provides a unique opportunity to see the result of the divergence of social and private benefits from social and private costs, or what economists call external diseconomies. The destruction of natural resources occurs largely because of the difficulty of imposing direct costs or monetary responsibility on the polluters. Attempts to prevent pollution illustrate how economics along with politics and science can be utilized to cope with an increasingly dangerous situation.

Until recently few individuals or organizations were concerned with the problems of pollution. The onlypreviously interested ones were a few conservationists and hikers and mountain climbers. Why, then, is there this sudden clamor about pollution?

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