He evens mentions Land Value Tax, but did not explore its link with the protection of nature and properly valuing nature. But there is one thing I disagree with in that we can use a system of valuing nature in our economic system, that does not have the downsides he so rightly points out in the failings of the Neo Classical economic consensus that is so fundamentally flawed.
There is nothing wrong with ‘valuing nature’ the problem is not ‘valuing’ it properly, which Monbiot has been spot on. Efforts to value nature so far are complete rubbish, then even more importantly how does that value get internalised into our economy – again the neo-liberal ideas are pure rubbish in an economic sense. But there is a way to value nature in a way that helps the economy and helps preserve nature. The simple solution is of course to transfer taxation off of incomes and trade and put it in the destruction of nature. So destroying an ancient habitat become extremely expensive, prohibitively so. Land and natural resources become expensive to exploit and when not a true economic benefit get left alone.
Taxation means we leave fossil fuels in the ground, we stop farming marginal habitat and it becomes wild again, we reduce the extraction of fresh water and it stops in rivers and wetland. Carbon will come out of the atmosphere and be sequestered back into the ground.
So get rid of subsidies for farmers and industry and tax the use of land & natural resources, proportionate to the damage their use causes. So special taxes for the destruction of high value habitats and pollution, and areas that provide specific ecosystem services such as flood prevention and carbon sequestration.
These taxes need to embody future destruction, and not at any ‘discount rate’, also land taxes should be yearly taxes so we properly value that destruction in the future and we do not undervalue the ecosystem we leave to future generations.
The idea of using nature as a means of rent seeking by those that ‘own’ it is an appalling idea and is the fundamental problem of ‘neo classical’ economics.
I attended a seminar organised last month by the New Economics Foundation and WWF and was appalled by the poor level of economic understanding and that organisation like WWF viewed ecosystem services as a fund raising exercise and had no comprehension of the problems outlined by Monbiot, myself, and the many proper green economists who have highlighted this over the years.
My view of how we value nature: