What is the nature of criticism

On the new economy of nature: criticism and counter-criticism

Although the concept of external effects is now almost 100 years old1 and the discipline of environmental economics was established both in the Anglo-Saxon area and in Germany around 40 years ago, 2 economic considerations in the areas of climate and biodiversity policy have only recently played a role an increasing role. This first began in climate policy with the Stern Report.3 This report, published in 2007 on the benefits and costs of acting in climate protection, had a major influence. Up until the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, the arguments of the Stern Report were taken up and quoted in science and politics to justify and support a climate policy after Kyoto.4 When the European Environment Ministers met in Potsdam in 2007, the decision was made in favor of the Climate problem The second major global environmental problem, the loss of biological diversity, also commissioned an economic study. The TEEB study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” was carried out from 2008 to 2010.

Economic perspective in nature conservation

The basis for a reference to economic approaches in the areas of nature conservation and biodiversity was formed by the concept of ecosystem (services) services, which offers a central interface for the economic consideration of nature and biological diversity. The concept of ecosystem services is traced back to a publication by Ehrlich und Ehrlich.5 It aims to become aware of the diverse services nature provides for humans and to systematize them. In its most widespread conceptualization based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment6, four different types of ecosystem services can be distinguished (see Figure 1):

  • Basic or supporting services: These include processes such as soil formation, photosynthesis and the nutrient cycle. They are the basis for the other services of biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Utilities: the provision of goods such as wood, food, water or fibers.
  • Regulatory services: Ecosystems control the climate and precipitation, protect against flooding and soil erosion, and store or break down pollutants.
  • Cultural services: National parks, for example, are part of a country's cultural heritage and create identity. They have a recreational and recreational value and a spiritual effect. They are recognized as cultural assets and in their social dimension. Their benefit is important for mental wellbeing.

In the scientific field, the publications of Gretchen Daily7 on the services of nature and Robert Costanza et al.8 on the value of the world's ecosystem services were important milestones in the dissemination of the concept.9 The increasing importance of the topic can also be seen from the fact that the The number of scientific publications in this area has risen sharply10 and, since 2012, there has been a special journal “Ecosystem Services”.

illustration 1
Ecosystem services as components of human well-being

Source: translated and modified according to Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005.

The reference to the services of nature for humans was (and is) built an important bridge to economics. In addition, the already mentioned TEEB study gave the discussion a further boost. The economic analysis of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the recognition and demonstration of the importance and value of this natural capital11 for people and society are intended to help correct social decisions that often take insufficient account of nature and its ecosystem services.12 The considerations of the TEEB study found particular Entry into political documents at the international level. At the 10th Conference of the States Parties on Biodiversity (COP 10, 2010) and COP 11 (2012), TEEB was ubiquitous, according to observers, and the approach of the economic valuation of nature has been incorporated into numerous formulations of the international biodiversity strategy. These aspects were also included in the European Biodiversity Strategy.13 Particularly noteworthy is objective 2, measure 5 of this strategy, according to which ecosystem services in the European member states are to be mapped and assessed by 2014 and economically assessed by 2020 and integrated into national reporting systems.

In Germany, too, the economic perspective on biodiversity and ecosystem services has played a major role in recent years, with reference being made increasingly to the economic value of ecosystem services and the benefits of biodiversity in various circles for different reasons. Germany helped initiate and support the international TEEB study and is involved at the European level in the discussions about the implementation of the EU biodiversity strategy. In addition, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) have commissioned a study to record ecosystem services and a national TEEB study - "Natural Capital Germany - TEEB DE" From 2009 to 2013, a junior research group on the subject of “ecosystem services” was set up.15 Finally, the German Bundestag also dealt with the subject in the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment.16

However, the assessments of the role of the economic approach in the field of nature and its services are quite different. On the one hand, the economically oriented perspective of the TEEB study is seen as a great opportunity to promote the interests of nature and environmental protection and to obtain more funding for nature conservation.17 It is pointed out that an economic evaluation has important functions for the matter of biodiversity protection, for example by 1. prescribing a systematic and transparent decision-making mechanism, 2. drawing a great deal of attention to raising public awareness, 3. showing society in the form of feedback to what extent it is through its (individual or collective) Behavior contributes to the loss of biodiversity or 4. also shows possibilities for involving the public. 18

Reservations about the New Economy of Nature

On the other hand, there are reservations about the approach because a one-sided “economization” is feared, which leads to a “sell-out” of nature. The economic evaluation is criticized for being ethically unjustifiable and technically not feasible and, moreover, leading to unacceptable results in the political process.19 In this context, the term “new economy of nature” is also used.20 The term is reduced to a book by Daily and Ellison "The New Economy of Nature" 21, but expanded to include the more recent trends in the economic view of nature as a whole. These publications are only seen as a trigger and indication of this broader development. It should be noted that the criticism of the economic valuation is partly based on a lack of knowledge of the environmental-economic fundamentals.22 This will be discussed later. However, some of the objections to the economic valuation approach are also justified. There are basically limits to an economic assessment if marginal changes in nature are not to be assessed.23 The disappearance of entire ecosystems or the achievement of “tipping points” can be viewed as a non-marginal change that requires an economic assessment forbids. The limited substitutability of environmental goods or the irreversibility of their damage can also be viewed as such a limit.

Many conservationists, but also the Heinrich Böll Foundation and development organizations, vehemently reject economic arguments in the environmental sector. The economic view is an expression of a “diverse scientific and political movement that has fundamentally changed the rationale for nature conservation and its strategies in the last few decades.” 24 The economists wanted “to give nature a value in order to protect it - but that would ultimately a threatening monetization and financialization of nature provokes “25. Other critics also speak of a “commodification” of nature.26 In terms of content, the following four argumentation models come into focus:

  1. The economic point of view covers only a part of the values ​​of nature. “The extremely utilitarian and anthropocentric conception of nature as a service provider for human well-being is by no means a generally accepted idea.” 27 Rather, values ​​are diverse and characterized by incommensurability.28 An additional problem arises when values ​​are equated with prices, which is due to the economic Approach - often implicitly - would be promoted.
  2. The economic view is equated with the monetization of nature. Ultimately, the point of economic valuation is the “in-money expression” of natural values, even if many economists would claim the opposite. “Despite such (rhetorical?) Restrictions, the determination of monetary values ​​is the core business of the New Economy of Nature” 29.
  3. The economic perspective is equated with the introduction of market-based instruments. Such instruments are intended to overcome the chronic financial deficiencies and bottlenecks in nature conservation and at the same time provide incentives for a more careful approach to nature. The following chain of ideas is thus built up: The valuation (monetization) follows (automatically) the commodification and financialization of nature.30 Private markets would be used to finance nature conservation by means of economic market instruments such as payments for ecosystem services.
  4. As a result, nature conservation tasks would be withdrawn from public decision-making and given over to the private sector. However, this would push the state out of its responsibility and it would be feared that power interests would be cemented in favor of high-income interests and countries.

In the following, some assessments of these points of criticism are given, although it is not possible to open up the entire discussion and all facets of the problem.

Which values ​​of nature does the economy capture?

In order to understand the economic way of thinking, it is central that the economy assumes that only that which is of any use to people is of value. Nature thus has an instrumental value (“nature as a means”), not a value in itself (“nature as an ends”) .31 The reference to nature's self-worth is also referred to as a biocentric or ecocentric view.32 The economic value is thus an anthropocentric and utilitarian one. First of all, that is correct: the economy cannot grasp other values ​​of nature, which, for example, see "Mother Earth" as part of creation and attach its own value to it. According to economic understanding, the basis for recording environmental values ​​is rather the concept of “total economic value”. This is an attempt to capture all kinds of benefits of nature and its services for humans and to prove them with values. 33

In the concept of the total economic value, a distinction is made between use-dependent and non-use-dependent values. The use-dependent values ​​are related to the use of natural resources and are subdivided into three value categories: Direct use values ​​include, for example, the use of nature and its services for consumption and production purposes or the enjoyment of a beautiful landscape. In the case of indirect utility values, there are ecological services of nature that indirectly benefit humans, e.g. the value of a floodplain as a retention area for pollutants or as a floodplain during floods. Option values ​​are a kind of insurance premium for future, potential use - e.g. the option to use nature as a gene pool. In the case of non-use-dependent values, a distinction is made between existence values, for which the knowledge of the existence of a rare species alone ensures greater satisfaction and thus creates a positive benefit, and the legacy value that arises from the concern to leave nature behind for future generations that they can derive the same benefit from it as today's generation. And finally, this includes the altruistic value that arises from the fact that people feel a benefit when other people have access to environmental resources.

Two things should be noted here for the discussion of economic values: On the one hand, the concept of total economic value is much broader and includes significantly more values ​​than is often assumed by non-economists. The values ​​go far beyond a direct benefit or the benefit of nature for the economy. This concept significantly promotes the protection and sustainable use of nature, e.g. by showing regulatory services or cultural ecosystem services. The beauty of nature or the experience of a walk are captured in the economic approach.

On the other hand - as already indicated - the self-worth of nature is not taken into account in the economic evaluation. In addition, “social” (also: “social”, “communal” or “shared”) values ​​are not taken into account, unless they result from the aggregation of individual values ​​resulting from recorded individual willingness to pay. These “social” values ​​are values ​​that are not articulated based on the preferences of the individual, but that reflect the interests of the individual as part of society. As a citizen or as a citizen of a community, I represent the interests of the general public and may decide differently than when it comes to my own advantages alone. Arild Vatn aptly describes these categories as “I-preferences” (when it comes to one's own interests) and “We-preferences” (when it comes to the interests of the community) .34 Others (mostly political science) are responsible for recording such social values and discussion-oriented) approaches are more suitable than the usual economic valuation methods. Figure 2 shows the relationships and the associated evaluation methods.

Figure 2
Values ​​of nature and ways of capturing them

Source: slightly changed from: B. Hansjürgens, M. Brenck: On the values ​​of nature, in: I. Kowarik, R. Bartz (Hrsg): Ecosystem services in the city - protecting health and increasing quality of life, in preparation.

Without going into detail, one can assume that the justification of “social” values ​​is in line with the concept of merit (“meritorious”) goods, as advocated by Richard Musgrave in public finance, 35 or with the approach of constitutional economics, as developed by James Buchanan and others.36 The former deals with common values ​​of the state that may conflict with the interests of the individual, such as compulsory schooling or the obligation to vaccinate. In the latter case, when it comes to “good” rules for the general public, citizens should decide behind a “veil of ignorance”. With this “veil” ideally, knowledge of systemic interrelationships should be great, but knowledge of one's own position should be small.37 It should be noted that the environmental-economic approaches generally do not capture the categories of intrinsic values ​​of nature and “social” values ​​of a community well can, although there are also conceptual approaches in economics that address at least “social” values.

Monetization as a panacea?

Monetization is seen by many economists as the "heart" of an economic valuation.38 The reason is less that economic valuation, by expressing values ​​in monetary units, gives priority to economic considerations than that expressing completely different values ​​("apples") and "pears") allows comparability of values ​​in the sense of a common denominator.39 Nevertheless, the idea of ​​an all-encompassing, ubiquitous economic valuation is (and remains) not realizable:

  • A monetization of changes in ecosystem services will only ever be possible in individual areas, but never comprehensively, due to the high cost of evaluations and enormous uncertainties. There are also limits to the process in the EU for “mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services” 40, at least if the term assessment is understood to mean economically valued natural goods.
  • For reasons of practicability, but also for economic considerations (ratio of effort and return on information acquisition), it is forbidden to demand them everywhere in view of the cost intensity of evaluation studies. The "benefit transfer" as a substitute method will not solve the problem; the previous approaches are largely viewed critically. 41
  • The uncertainties of valuation studies arise not only from methodological pitfalls (validity of willingness to pay analyzes, various weaknesses of substitute methods, etc.), but fundamentally and above all from the subjective character of costs as assessed waivers of benefit, 42 which almost make a generally applicable and transferable assessment of environmental changes excludes.
  • There is an incommensurability of essential basic stocks of natural capital.43 In order to take this incommensurability into account, absolute limits of ecological sustainability and fundamentally protected social values ​​can be addressed in the decision-making process. These absolute limits contradict an economic valuation based on the substitution paradigm.

It is therefore a chimera to assume that an economic evaluation is comprehensively possible or that economic evaluations are part of a successful process that will eventually come to a conclusion (once all ecosystems have been evaluated). More important than monetization is the systematic process of recording initiated by economic evaluations, which aims to take into account all the advantages (benefits) and all disadvantages (costs) of all those affected by environmental change. Economic valuation is therefore more than just monetization. In addition: Economics is more than just economic evaluation. The (environmental) economy should not have its particular strengths as a science primarily in the evaluation of environmental changes, but in the analysis of decisions under conditions of scarcity. It is able and aims to provide information for the effective and efficient design of institutions (induction of desired behavior, incentive compatibility, institutional design, etc.). It is therefore good for the analysis of trade-offs, the analysis of environmental policy decisions and incentive constellations, as well as the development and design of instruments and institutional regulations. This is often overlooked when monetizing environmental change is referred to as the “core business” of economics.

Economic evaluation of nature

How do environmental economic evaluation and market instruments relate to one another? Does an economic assessment lead - automatically - to the establishment of markets in the areas of nature conservation and biodiversity? In order to make the connection clearer, the character of external effects is recalled, as it was made clear in particular by William Baumol and Wallace Oates in contrast to the neoclassical.44 It is crucial that the recording and measurement of external effects ultimately represents an insoluble information problem. In order to achieve a societal optimum, the causer of the externalities must be assigned the additional social costs (in the case of negative external effects) or additional social benefits (in the case of positive external effects) in such a way that he adjusts his economic activities in the same way that the societal optimum is achieved. This poses the following problems for environmental policy: 1. External effects, i.e. the loss of benefit for those affected, must be precisely measured; for this, the preferences of the citizens and the costs of the companies must be known; 2. the damage contribution of the individual causer must be optimally identified, ie the extent to which he contributes to the total damage; 3. The individual environmental users must be exactly charged with the social costs they cause, they must be given the “right” incentive to reduce their activities; and 4. his behavior and the behavior of all other polluters must follow the set incentives to the exact extent that an optimum for society as a whole is achieved.45

This information problem is so extensive that a (complete) internalization of external effects is simply impossible.46 The state headquarters does not know the necessary, only locally available information, in particular not the preferences of citizens and the cost functions of consumers and entrepreneurs. A special role is played by the fact that the costs are always subjective, i.e. only the respective economic subject can see. And not even the individual economic agents are informed about the extent of the externalities they cause, because they cannot know their extent, third-party effects, long-term effects, effects on society as a whole, etc. 47

Against this background, Baumol and Oates have distanced themselves from the concept of internalizing external effects and called for an orientation towards the standard price approach.48 For the design of environmental policy instruments, an assessment of the environmental damage must be dispensed with, and it only comes up Indicates cost efficiency in achieving a given environmental target.49 This step already shows that the design of market-oriented instruments does not require a definition, recording and economic evaluation of changes in nature and the environment. More than 20 years ago, Hansmeyer and Schneider stated this for environmental policy by pointing out that the internalization approach in environmental policy should be replaced by a “political meritorization decision” .50

The question of instrument design is therefore decoupled from the recording and economic evaluation of changes in nature and the environment. No evaluation is required to design environmental policy instruments. This can be demonstrated using the example of payments for ecosystem services: the level of remuneration for ecological services is based solely on the opportunity costs of alternative use. If a farmer is to be rewarded for the protection of the landscape by foregoing fertilization, this depends on his lost profits from the sale of agricultural products. It is not necessary to assess the environmental damage that has occurred in order to calculate the amount of the fee payments. Assessment and choice of instruments are clearly two separate things.

The question of which instrument is to be used for environmental and nature conservation is a question of effectiveness, efficiency, practicability and enforcement aspects.51 Correctly designing an instrument is ultimately “statecraft”. In particular, the selection of regulatory and market-oriented instruments has been extensively discussed in environmental policy and economics. Although many lawyers see advantages in regulatory solutions and many economists see advantages in economic incentive instruments (levies, tradable pollution certificates, etc.), the result is open and clearly does not depend on the economic assessment.

Nature conservation: private or state task?

Economic evaluation also does not encourage “blind” market forces that aim to “economize and finance” natural resources. On the contrary: It is rather the concern of economic analyzes to make the character of natural goods as public goods more visible. If one asks about the causes of the loss of biological diversity and ecosystem services, from an economic point of view the reason is that most of nature's services can currently be used free of charge. In contrast, most other goods and services, such as industrial and consumer products or labor, are included in economic decisions with a price. Free natural goods and services are, however, neither perceived by producers nor by consumers in an appropriate manner; rather, they are taken for granted by large parts of the population. As a result, individual individuals behave like free riders: They make extensive use of nature and its services, but are not prepared to take into account the conservation of nature in their decisions and to incur costs for it. Economists use the term “public goods” 52 to describe this state of affairs, and nature does indeed have in part the character of a public good:

  • Biodiversity and the services of nature benefit us in very different ways and are widely spread. Often the benefits are even global. This makes it particularly difficult to grasp the value of these services.
  • Existing markets and prices only capture the services of nature in exceptional cases. Therefore it is very difficult or even impossible to get users of ecosystem services to pay a price.

Even if the costs and benefits of nature are correctly recorded, there will tend to be too little nature conservation, because the costs for nature conservation are incurred immediately, while the benefits of the measures often extend over long periods of time and are associated with uncertainties. This leads to an underestimation and insufficient consideration of the benefits of nature conservation. Decision-makers are therefore often not prepared to bear the costs that arise today. Public goods require state intervention - that is their essence. And this also justifies state coercion: If the demand of a community is not satisfied by the decentralized supply because it is not possible to exclude members of the community who are not willing to pay, state coercion may be indicated - out of the well-understood self-interest of the members of the community, even if the individual members of the community are thereby themselves subjected to coercion and lose degrees of freedom.53 The state coercion serves to overcome free-driving behavior. It is therefore completely incomprehensible if this basic insight of economics is overlooked and a "blind" market orientation in the field of nature and biodiversity protection is assumed.


With the above considerations, an attempt was made to clarify the economic justifications for protecting nature and its services and to show its scope and limits. Many of the points of criticism expressed about this economic point of view are untenable on closer inspection. However, it must also be recognized that the economic arguments are not always dealt with with the necessary sense of proportion when an assessment and valorisation of nature is required. And finally: If critics of the economic approach point out that economic valuation would influence the “spirit” of claiming nature - at least that is the tenor of the publications, it certainly cannot be dismissed entirely out of hand. The following applies here: Economy is a means, an instrument that can be used for or against nature conservation and the loss of biological diversity. With the lines of argument represented here, it is intended to be used in favor of nature conservation.

  • 1 Cf. A. C. Pigou: The Economics of Welfare, London 1920; on the appreciation of Pigou's work see D. Cansier: Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-1959), in: J. Starbatty (Ed.): Klassiker des Wirtschafts Denkens, Munich 1988, pp. 231-250.
  • 2 In Germany especially in the years after the Federal Government's first environmental program was passed in 1971. Cf. German Bundestag: Federal Government Environment Program, Bundestag printed matter VI / 2710.
  • 3 N. star: The Economics of Climate Change. The Stern Review, Cambridge 2007.
  • 4 Cf. B. Hansjürgens: International Climate Policy after Kyoto: Building Blocks and Architectures, in: Zeitschrift für Umweltpolitik und Umweltrecht, Volume 32 (2009), No. 2, pp. 123-152.
  • 5 P. R. Ehrlich, A. Ehrlich: Extinction: the causes and consequences of the disappearance of species, New York 1981.
  • 6 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA): Synthesis report, Washington DC 2005.
  • 7 G. Daily: Nature’s Services. Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems, Washington DC 1997.
  • 8 R. Costanza, R. d'Arge, R. de Groot, S. Farber, M. Grasso, B. Hannon, K. Limburg, S. Naeem, RV O'Neill, J. Paruelo, RG Raskin, P. Sutton, M. van den Belt: The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital, in: Nature, 387th Jg. (1997), pp. 253-260.
  • 9 See also B. Hansjürgens on the following: Ecosystem services and their economic evaluation in the sights of politics and research in Germany, in: Natur und Landschaft, 89th year (2014), no. 2, p. 56 ff.
  • 10 P. Jeanneaux, O. Aznar, S. de Mareschal: Une analyze bibliométrique pour éclairer la mise à l'agenda scientifique des “services environnementaux”, VertigO - la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement, 12th year (2012 ), H. 3, http://vertigo.revues.org/12908 (February 15, 2015).
  • 11 Natural capital can be defined as follows: “Natural capital is the extension of the economic notion of capital (manufactured means of production) to environmental goods and services. A functional definition of capital in general is: a stock that yields a flow of valuable goods or services into the future. Natural capital is thus the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services into the future ". See R. Costanza: Natural Capital, in: Encyclopedia of Earth, http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/154791/.
  • 12 See TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity): Integrating the economic importance of nature into decision-making processes. Approach, conclusions and recommendations from TEEB - A Synthesis, Bonn 2010; This: Guidance Manual for TEEB Country Studies, Version 1.0. published on May 28, 2013.
  • 13 See European Union: The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, Luxembourg 2011.
  • 14 Cf. S. Marzelli et al .: The recording of ecosystem services. First steps towards using the concept at national level for Germany, in: Natur und Landschaft, 89th year (2014), no. 2, pp. 66-73; B. Hansjürgens: Ecosystem services and their economic evaluation ..., loc. Cit., P. 56 ff .; http://www.naturkapitalteeb.de (February 15, 2015).
  • 15 See http://www.bbaw.de/forschung/oekosystemleistungen/uebersicht (February 15, 2015).
  • 16 Cf. German Bundestag: Report of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, Valuation of Biodiversity, Bundestag printed matter, No. 18/3764 of January 16, 2015.
  • 17 See above all the arguments in Natural Capital Germany - TEEB DE: The value of nature for economy and society. An introduction, ifoplan, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Munich and others. 2012.
  • 18 Cf. N. Lienhoop, B. Hansjürgens: From the benefit of economic evaluation in environmental policy, in: GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 19th year (2010), no. 4, p. 258 f.
  • 19 Cf. A. Klie: The evaluation of environmental goods by means of willingness-to-pay analyzes. Why cost-benefit analyzes fail, in: GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 19th year (2010), no. 2, pp. 103-109; F. Eckardt: Environmental Economics, Growth, Ethics and Climate Data, in: GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 20th year (2011), no. 2, pp. 80-83.
  • 20 This term was used in particular by employees of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. See e.g. T. Fatheuer: New Economy of Nature. A critical introduction, in: Schriften zur Ökologie, Vol. 35, Berlin 2013; ders .: Eine neue Ökonomie der Natur, in: Ökologisches Wirtschaften, 29th year (2014), No. 2, pp. 19-21; böll topic: green economy. What is nature worth to us, magazine of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, issue 1, 2012; B. Unmüßig, W. Sachs, T. Fatheuer: Critique of the green economy. Impulses for a socially and ecologically just future, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Writings on Ecology, Vol. 22, Berlin 2012; B. Inessential: On the value of nature. Sense and nonsense of a new economy of nature, Heinrich Böll Foundation, February 2014.
  • 21 G. Daily, K. Ellison: The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, Washington DC 2002.
  • 22 Cf. J. Barkmann, R. Marggraf: Willingness to pay surveys for environmental goods: really "Finger weg!" ?, in: GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 19th year (2010), no. 4, p. 250- 254.
  • 23 On the limits of economic evaluation see O. Fromm: Possibilities and limits of an economic evaluation of the soil ecosystem, Frankfurt a.M. 1997; U. Hampicke: Economic valuation bases and the limits of a "monetization" of nature, in: W. Theobald: Integrative environmental assessment. Theory and practical examples, Berlin, Heidelberg 1998, pp. 95-117; B. Hansjürgens, N. Lienhoop: Because it is worth it to us. Range and limits of the economic evaluation of nature and its services, Marburg, in the coming.
  • 24 T. Fatheuer: New Economy of Nature ..., loc. Cit., P. 16.
  • 25 Ibid, p. 12.
  • 26 Cf. A. Klie: How useful is the cost-benefit analysis ?, in: GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Volume 21 (2012), No. 1, pp. 10-12.
  • 27 T. Fatheuer: New Economy of Nature ..., loc. Cit., P. 25.
  • 28 On the incommensurability of natural values, see A. Klie: How useful is the cost-benefit analysis? ..., loc. cit., p. 11.
  • 29 T. Fatheuer: New Economy of Nature ..., loc. Cit., P. 26.
  • 30 Cf. B. Unmüßig: Vom Wert der Natur ..., loc. Cit., P. 6.
  • 31 See Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Valuing the Protection of Ecological Systems and Services. A Report of the EPA Science Advisory Board, Washington DC 2009; R. A. Young: Determining the Economic Value of Water. Concepts and Methods, Resources for the Future, Washington DC 2004.
  • 32 See Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Valuing the Protection of ..., loc. Cit .; Scientific Advisory Council of the Federal Government on Global Change (WBGU): Environment and Ethics, Special Report, Marburg 1999; U. Eser, A.-K. Neureuther, A. Müller: Klugheit, Glück, Gerechtigkeit: Ethical lines of argument in the National Strategy for Biodiversity, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn 2011.
  • 33 See WBGU, loc. Cit .; B. Hansjürgens, U. Moesenfechtel: Economic evaluation of natural capital, in: Wirtschaftsdienst, 94th year (2014), no. 4, p. 301.
  • 34 A. Vatn: An institutional analysis of methods for environmental appraisal, in: Ecological Economics, 68th Jg. (2009), No. 8, pp. 2207 ff .; See also C. Spash: Deliberative Monetary Valuation (DMV): Issues in combining economic and political processes to value environmental change, in: Ecological Economics, 63rd Jg. (2007), No. 4, pp. 690-699.
  • 35 See R. A. Musgrave: Merit Goods, in: The New Palgrave, New York, London 1987, pp. 452-453. This category of merit goods, which is controversial in finance - because it is largely rejected in the Anglo-Saxon area - can be traced back to Musgrave's German roots. See also: Public Finance and Finanzwissenschaft Traditions Compared, in: Finanzarchiv, N.F. Vol. 53, 1996/1997, pp. 145 ff.
  • 36 See G. Brennan, J. M. Buchanan: The Reason of Rules, Chicago 1984; J. M. Buchanan: The Domain of Constitutional Economics, in: Constitutional Political Economy, 1st year (1990), no. 1, pp. 1-18; ders .: Constitutional Economics, in: The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, New York, London 1991, pp. 134-142.
  • 37 See J. M. Buchanan, V. Vanberg: Interests and Theories in Constitutional Choice, in: V. Vanberg (Ed.): Rules and Choice in Economics, London 1991, pp. 161-171.
  • 38 See O. Fromm, op.
  • 39 So also J. Hirschfeld, J. Sagebiel: Äpfel, Birnen und Biodiversität, in: Ökologisches Wirtschaften, 29th year (2014), no. 2, p. 29.
  • 40 European Union: The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, loc. Cit.
  • 41 Cf. R. Brower: Environmental Value Transfer: State of the Art and Future Prospects, in: Ecological Economics, 32nd Jg. (2000), No. 1, pp. 137-152; M. Ahlheim, U. Lehr: Benefit transfer. The savings model of environmental assessment, in: Perspektiven der Wirtschaftsppolitik, 3rd vol. (2002), no. 1, pp. 85-104; J. Meyerhoff: Benefit Transfer: Transferring determined values ​​to other locations, in: B. Hansjürgens, C. Neßhöver, I. Schniewind: The benefit of economy and ecosystem services for nature conservation practice, BfN script 318, Bonn 2012, pp. 72-75 .
  • 42 J. M. Buchanan is particularly striking on this: Cost and Choice. An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Chicago 1979.
  • 43 These are so-called socio-ecological thresholds, see J. Farley: The Role of Prices in Conserving Critical Natural Capital, in: Conservation Biology, 22nd year (2008), no. 6, pp. 1399-1408 .
  • 44 W. J. Baumol: Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State, Cambridge 1952; W. J. Baumol, W. E. Oates: The Theory of Environmental Policy, 2nd ed., Cambridge 1988.
  • 45 Cf. B. Hansjürgens: William Baumol and the role of the state (price-standard approach), in: I. Pies, M. Leschke (Ed.): William Baumols Markttheorie Unternehmerischer Innovation, Tübingen 2011, p. 114.
  • 46 Cf. E. Streissler: The problem of internalization, in: H. König (Hrsg.): Environmentally compatible economic activity as a problem of science and politics, annual conference of the Verein für Socialpolitik, Berlin 1993, p. 88.
  • 47 "Since neither the individual private economic subjects nor the social headquarters are adequately informed about environmental issues, namely because some are familiar with individual preferences and costs and others do not know the overall effects, efficient environmental policy is neither centrally nor decentralized, possible, it is so always impossible. ”Cf. E. Streissler, op. cit., p. 90.
  • 48 See W. J. Baumol, W. E. Oates: The Use of Standards and Prices for Protection of the Environment, in: Swedish Journal of Economics, 73rd Jg. (1971), H. 1, pp. 42-54.
  • 49 Baumol and Oates (ibid) refer to this as “efficiency without optimality”. But renouncing internalization does not mean that economic valuation is superfluous. It continues to offer an important guiding principle for environmental policy measures and is an "indispensable component of environmental policy vision". In addition, environmental economics can contribute to the rational setting of goals in environmental policy. Cf. A. Endres: Umweltökonomie, Stuttgart 2007, p. 33. Finally, the concept of external effects has a control and justification function when state rules and objectives are recognized in principle. Compare with K.-H. Hansmeyer, H. K. Schneider: Environmental Policy. Your further development under market-controlling aspects, 2nd edition, Göttingen 1992, p. 24 ff.
  • 50 Ibid, p. 22.
  • 51 Cf. M. Kemper: The environmental problem in the market economy, Berlin 1993.
  • 52 P. A. Samuelson: The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure, in: Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 36 (1954), no. 4, pp. 387-389.
  • 53 See W. J. Baumol, loc. Cit.

Title: The New Economics of Nature: Criticism and Countercriticism

Abstract: The “new economics of nature” refers to the recent development that nature and biodiversity protection are increasingly seen from an economic perspective. Well-known examples of these developments are the TEEB project “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” and its follower “Natural Capital Germany - TEEB DE”. This economic perspective is heavily criticized, though. In this article, the main arguments against the “new economics of nature” are assessed. It is shown that many of the arguments against economic valuation lack a proper understanding of the economic approach. If properly applied, economic perspectives can deliver important additional arguments for nature and biodiversity protection.

JEL Classification: H41, Q51, Q57