“Environmental policy in the United States is not entirely without success stories, but for the most part has been unexpectedly costly, corrosive to America’s liberal political and legal traditions, and not very effective in enhancing environmental quality,” write Robert Higgs and Carl Close, editors of a new book, Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy (The Independent Institute/August 2005). “These failures are rooted in the bureaucratic, top-down approach that has characterized environmental policy.”
In Re-Thinking Green twenty-two economists, political scientists, and philosophers show how environmental quality can be enhanced more effectively by relying less on government agencies that are increasingly politicized, bureaucratized and unaccountable and more on environmental entrepreneurship and the strict enforcement of private-property rights.
The maze of government regulations and environment laws enacted since the 1970’s has created more waste and failure than innovation and success, say the book’s contributors. They point out that many current environmental policies fly in the face of American liberal legal and political traditions. Unless we are mindful of the incentives and constraints of the political processand reform our public policies accordinglythe problem of government failure in environmental policy will continue, they claim.
Re-Thinking Green examines some of today’s most hotly debated environmental issues including oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, population growth, global warming, endangered species, land use, coastal waters, air quality, urban planning, and transportation. These essays point to the limitations of a one-size-fits-all regulatory process that has crowded out potentially far more effective approaches to dealing with environmental problems.
Re-Thinking Green will challenge readers with new paradigms for resolving environmental problems, stimulate discussion on how best to “humanize” environmental policy and inspire policymakers to seek effective alternatives to environmental bureaucracy.
Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute, and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy.
Carl P. Close is Academic Affairs Director at The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review.
RE-THINKING GREEN: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy
Edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close
$22.95 Paper • ISBN 0-945999-97-6 • 6 X 9, 480 Pages
Date of Publication: August 2005
Published by The Independent Institute, Oakland California
Distributed to the Trade by Independent Publishers Group