Problems of externalities that plague the modern capitalist economic
system can be solved by assessing fees on activities that produce external
costs. Fees on resource use or use of the commons would allow us a means of moderating human activities that have an adverse impact on the human community and larger environment.
Living things continually interact with and change their environment. Over time, the environment may be transformed so much that the living things are compelled to transform themselves into new forms. These new forms are created through a synthesis of the organisms with some aspect of their environment, thus creating a higher level of organization. Today we face the challenge of adapting our interaction with our environment so that we can create a sustainable society. We need to learn to live without consuming the very resource base that sustains us and that will sustain future generations. Fees on the taking of natural resources and on the putting of pollution into the air and water can be the mechanism whereby the apparently separate systems of ecology and economy are joined into one larger system.
This system of information feedback from ecologic systems to economic systems would produce an effect similar to the maintenance of homeostasis in organisms: a balance between human activities on the planet and the ability of the environment to sustain those activities could be created. Democratic control of the levels of resource use, and democratic ownership of the fee proceeds (within a free market economy) would produce a synthesis of capitalism and communism. Political and economic power would be more widely dispersed. Disparities between rich and poor would decrease, while the economic incentives which encourage people to strive to meet the needs of their fellows would remain and even increase. But the incentive would be for producers to meet human needs at the lowest cost to the environment.
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© 1996, 1998, 2004 John Champagnejc@satx.net
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