A Developing Country Perspective
Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Ibrahim Thiaw
Chapter 12: The ethical foundations of cultural diversity in ecosystems and their role in economic valuation
The problem of ‘economic valuation’, in which monetary value is assigned to environmental factors, attempts to connect the domain of the economic, i.e. the accumulation and management of capital, seen as a priority under capitalism, with the perceptions and preferences of individual subjects. When this problem is taken for granted, the main concern in research-oriented to policy is how cultural diversity should be included alongside specific calculable biological resources (Nunes and van den Bergh 2001). Economic valuation usually entails abstraction of people from their social context, i.e. people are treated as individual subjects rather than social actors, in order that their own specific assessments of value might be aggregated. This aggregation of viewpoints is assumed necessary for economic purposes, and for policy initiatives that attempt to recruit and mobilize individuals and populations to work together in ways that enhance rather than diminish cultural diversity.
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