Essays on Green Accounting
Advances in Ecological Economics series
Chapter 10: Disagreements and misunderstandings
This chapter continues the elucidation of the user-cost method for greening the national accounts, but approaches the topic from the standpoint of its critics. The chapter garners a number of disagreements and tries to address them. The instances cited I believe cover the whole range of adverse views. It will be seen that the claimed faults are in many respects repetitive and interdependent. Attempting to address them here should, however, throw greater light on the user-cost method and hopefully also confirm my belief that had this method been properly understood from the beginning progress towards a green accounting consensus might have developed faster. Again I am confining my coverage to monetary accounting, and overlooking physical accounting, which is obviously necessary in any case as a preliminary step. Physical accounting has been pursued with advantage in many situations and without much controversy. For presenting my arguments I have had two alternatives. One was a thematic approach, grouping censure by category of fault whether real or imagined. The other option was to identify critics, whether individuals or institutional, by name. I chose the latter, partly on grounds of convenience, but also to reveal some interesting interconnections between dissenters.
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