On the Foundations of Environmental Policy
Advances in Ecological Economics series
Chapter 5: Joint Production and the Dynamics of Environmental Problems
∗ Up to now, we have developed some conceptual foundations for the concept of joint production. In this chapter, we shall change our perspective to investigate some structural implications of joint production for environmental problems. To begin with (Section 5.1), we adopt a static view, that is we focus on implications at a single point in time. In the subsequent Section 5.2, we shall take on a dynamic perspective, together with a long time horizon, and argue that the phenomenon of joint production together with the accumulation and degradation of stocks (cf. Chapter 4) leads to typical temporal patterns in the evolution of coupled ecological-economic systems over time. 5.1 5.1.1 The Static View on Joint Production Intended and Unintended Modiﬁcations of the Natural Environment The traditional notion of an ‘environmental problem’ denotes a phenomenon at the interface of the spheres of ‘the economy’ and the surrounding natural ecosystems. Human economic action leads to deviations of the ecosphere’s temporal development from its natural path because resource extraction, waste disposal, or other human inﬂuences change the aﬀected ecosystems. From an economic perspective, such a deviation does not necessarily involve a value judgement. The deviation only becomes an ‘environmental problem’ once it is valued negatively by economic agents who are not compensated for this negative impact. In Part II of this book, we will discuss the problem of valuing joint production in detail. The negative valuation of an environmental impact by some agents is necessarily part of an environmental problem. So,...
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