Market pricing, government regulation, environmental policy

Traditionally, governments have relied on ‘command-and-control’ methods of pollution regulation – fixing standards, and relying on inspectorates and the backing of criminal sanctions. What does classical liberal economics have to offer in tackling environmental questions? Do the market and the price system have better solutions to environmental problems such as pollution?

The Second Edition of this ‘classic’ Hobart Paper (first published in 1975)¬†makes a major contribution to a debate that is of deep concern to us all. Wilfred Beckerman makes a cogent case for pollution control through taxation (by what he calls ‘pollution charges’). He shows that if pollution charges were adopted, they would help poor countries as well as rich ones.

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