Chapter 4: Pricing nature
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It has become increasingly popular among economists and others to put a price on nature. This can be a price on ‘natural capital’ which consists of geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It can also be a price on the ‘ecosystem goods and services’ produced by this natural capital. To a significant extent, attempts to bring nature into the orbit of market thinking and market processes is motivated by the pursuit of economic growth. In this chapter we examine the meaning of monetary valuation, its relation to commodification, and the conceptual, methodological and data problems of monetizing human interactions with the rest of nature. The many problems of equating nature to other forms of capital are explored and the practice criticized. More emphasis should be given to other types of information and more inclusive decision-making processes.

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