Title: The Ecoanarchist Manifesto
Source: Retrieved on 11 December 2010 from www.anarchy.no
Notes: Ver. 1. 8. unanimously decided upon by GAIA — The Green Anarchist International Association at the 20th anniversary in 2002, updated June 2008
Green Anarchist International Association
The Ecoanarchist Manifesto
There will be a)no real anarchism without ecology sufficiently integrated, just market orientated half-anarchism, and b) no real ecology without anarchism in a societal perspective, only authoritarian or pseudolibertarian half-environmentalism.
1. Ecoanarchism, the prefix “eco” is an abbreviation for ecology: From the Greek oikos = house + logos = reason, i.e. 1) A branch of science concerned with the interrelationships of organisms with their environment; 2) the whole set of relations between organisms and their environment.
The words anarchy and anarchism are a bit problematic. Sorry to say, anglophone languages are very much twisted in an Orwellian “1984” “newspeak” way, to fool the people via the education to worship authority, compared to Nordic language, say,
A. Rules, rule = regler, regel (relatively fixed ways to settle things in an orderly way, i.e. regulations and regulatory means); but also
B. Rules, rule = hersking, hersker, herske (to be an arch/ruler, act as an arch, bestiality). Thus in English/American the words ‘archein (Greek) = herske (Nordic)’ is translated to B. “rule” = to be an arch etc., but “rule” also is used as A. ‘regel’ = “rule” (i.e. rule(s) in the meaning of relatively fixed way(s) to settle things, disputes and conflicts in an orderly way, i.e. regulations and regulatory means = regel/regler).
And thus, due to using one word to mean two very different things, i.e. A. and B, the anglophones are forced in an authoritarian way to think very much false and wrong about realities, with respect to anarchy, freedom and authority, that the Scandinavian people are not to the same extent. See the point! Anglophones are very much fooled by the authorities in this way, thus you probably cannot easily think free, but like a slave via psychological ruling, to think authority = ruler is necessary to keep order. In Norwegian a situation “an (without) arch(y)” “uten hersker” may very well considered to be with ‘regler’ because “hersker” = rules, and “regler” = rules, are quite different words. This is very difficult to understand with an anglophone basis.
C. Furthermore the Greek word “an” is not meaning “without” in general, but just as “an” in anaerobe and similar words, i.e. “an” means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter, i.e. management in the meaning of coordination related to anarchy. Thus the whole thing gets often mixed up in the anglophone sphere, the language falsely forcing people to think that rule and rulers are necessary to settle things in an orderly way.
D. To fix this linguistical/language problem in a simple way, we mainly use the word “rules” in the meaning of one or more rules, i.e. regulations and regulatory means, case A, and the words “rule” and “ruling” in case B, unless something else is mentioned.
2. The word anarchism origins from the word anarchy, also an old Greek word. The original meaning, that everybody should stick to, is the following: The prefix “an” means “ negation of” , as in anaerobe vs aerobe, anandrous vs -androus, anhydride vs hydride , etc; i.e . “an” means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter. The suffix “archy” means “rule (not rules or law) , ruler, rulers, superior in contrast to subordinates, etc. “ , from Greek “archein” , “to rule, to be first” ; and “archos” , “ruler” i.e. in a coercive , repressive, etc. manner, slavery and tyranny included. As mentioned “an” means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter, i.e. in this case management in the meaning of coordination, but without ruling. The ‘ruling’ is not essential, but an evil alienation, i.e. bestiality. Bestiality is especially the hall-mark of systems with more than 666 per thousand (ca 67%) authoritarian degree, see map at www.anarchy.no . (The term “ca” is an abbreviation for the latin circa , which means about or approximately.) Thus “Anarchy” doesn’t mean “ without coordination, management , administration , etc.” . Anarchy is management, coordination and administration etc. without ruling and thus without rulers. NB! Remember D. Anarchy and anarchism also of course have and use regulations and regulatory means when necessary and optimal, i.e. significant selfregulation. That anarchy, means an-arch-y, i.e. management and coordination without ruler(s), not just “without rule”, a vague term that superficially may be interpreted and manipulated in a lot of inconsistent ways, i.e. non-authoritarian as well as authoritarian, must never be forgotten. “An” means “without” as in an-aerobe, etc, “arch” means “superior” or “boss” broadly defined, and “y” in this connection stands for system, management, coordination, as in monarch-y, oligarch-y, etc. The “an” is connected to “arch”, not “y”. Thus (an-arch)-y means without arch, but not without system, management, coordination, it means (an-arch)-system, management, coordination. In short an-arch-y = (an = without arch = boss) y = management.
3. And thus “Anarchy” doesn’t mean “without coordination, management, administration, etc.”, but means: a) coordination, without rule from the bureaucracy broadly defined, the economical and/or political/administrative superiors in private and public sectors (in contrast to the people), downwards to the bottom, i.e. in a coercive, repressive manner. b) Thus, anarchy is higher forms of economical and political/administrative democracy; 1. ideally, i.e. 100% anarchy; meaning 100% coordination on equal footing, without superiors and subordinates, horizontal organization and co-operation without coercion, or, — 2. practically, significant i.e. more than 50% degree of anarchy, i.e. more horizontally than vertically organized, i.e. more influence on the societal management from the “bottom upwards”, grassroots, than from the bureaucracy, from “the top downwards to the bottom”.
4. The bureaucracy organized as a ruling management , i.e. significant downards to the people and the grassroots — and not just an insignificant tendency in this direction, is also called authority or authorities, the State as a social concept or in a societal perspective — as well as government. Thus anarchy is a way of organizing society where there is management and coordination without ruling and rulers, tyranny and slavery, i.e. the tendencies towards State, authority, authorities, government, bureaucracy and similar are insignificant or zero. The opposite of anarchy is different types of archies, i.e. ruling and rulers, authority, authorities, State in a societal perspective, government — economical and/or political/administrative. Archies may be mainly monarchy, oligarchy, polyarchy, ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined) and/or plutarchy. The concept of ochlarchy here also includes rivaling states within the state, i.e. chaos; the tyranny of structurelessness, i.e. disorganization; and (neo-) luddism/ludditism, anti- and dis-civilization and primitivism, i.e. archi-society. Anarchism and eco-, green-anarchism mean civilization, and the more, the higher degree of anarchy, not anti-civilization, primitivism, i.e. ochlarchy. More information, search for primitivism at www.anarchy.no .
5. Thus, the State, administration of State, government, authority/ies, a.s.o. must not be mixed up with public sector, services and utilities, central/confederal/federal or municipal included, ‘res publica’ as the negation of the private sector and sphere, because State, goverment etc. in this context are about special forms of organization (or disorganization), i.e. all systems where the influence on the societal management and coordination goes mainly from the top towards the bottom, slavery and tyranny — chaotic included. Thus public sector, services and utilities, central/confederal/federal or municipal included, organized significant horizontally, are anarchist — and thus not the State, authority/ies etc. or a part of it. The concept of ‘central’ is here referring mainly to general matters, things concerning the whole country or all of the citizens, and must not be mixed up with centralist, centralism or centralization, the negation of decentralist, decentralism and decentralization.
6. Anarchism is political systems and organizations coordinated as anarchy in the above meaning and manner, but also the political tendency advocating anarchy understood this way, and the scientifical knowledge about anarchy and the ways to reduce non-anarchist tendencies.
Eco-anarchism — ecoanarchism, i.e. green and environmental anarchism, is anarchism taking into account sufficiently the ecological perspective and questions facing mankind — socially, i.e. political and economical broadly defined, and ecology taking into account sufficiently the anarchist approach. Green anarchist policy is based on a) general, ecological and environmental scientifical knowledge, b) decent treatment of animals for food, c) a “leave the world in better shape to our children than we got it from our parents”, “live and let live”, “ecological variety” & “polluting units are responsible for cleaning up”, ecologically produced food, recirculation of resources, birthcontrol and optimal population, not maximal population, etc. policy, d) a general skepticism vis-a-vis genetical manipulations, especially in a world based to a large extent on statism and plutarchy, as such research may, in worst case scenaria, be the basis for authoritarian, dystopian hell-societies much more authoritarian and worse than Orwell’s “1984”, e) optimal resource, ecological and environmental management as a part of the general political-economy, f) as indicated above — a rational, libertarian socialism, the anarchist principles in general.
7. Briefly defined anarchy and anarchism are coordination on equal footing, without superiors and subordinates, i.e. horizontal organization and co-operation without coercion. This means practically or ideally, i.e. ordinary vs perfect horizontal organization respectively. Thus, anarchy and anarchism mean real democracy, economical and political/administrative, in private and public sector, i.e. management and coordination without economical plutarchy and political/administrative statism, also in ecological questions broadly defined.
8. And thus, anarchy means coordination without government, in the meaning of different forms of vertically organized, i.e. chaotic included, economic and/or political-administrative relations among people, (and thus not without public sector). Coercion is defined in the following way: Coerce, from Latin coercere , to surround, from co = together and arcere = to confine. 1. to confine, restrain by force, to keep from acting by force, to repress. 2. to constrain, to compel, to effect by force, to enforce. Anarchist systems have ideally no coercion, practically, as little as possible coercion, taking into account the anarchist principles in general, human rights interpreted in a libertarian way included.
9. A social, economic-political system with free and fair elections of mandated representatives or delegates, usually called democracy, may function more from the top downwards, significant vertically organized, centralist or the opposite, from the bottom upwards, significant horizontally organized, federalist, i.e. anarchy. Thus all anarchies are democracies but everything called democracy is not necessarely anarchist or anarchy. Many so called representative democracies may work more from the top downwards than the opposite, from the bottom upwards, and thus are not real democracies, anarchies, but archies. A lot of conditions must usually be fulfilled to secure that a democracy is a real democracy, i.e. anarchy. A lot of people’s and grassroots organizations broadly defined, a free press, i.e. not the 4th power of the State, dialog and free, matter of fact, criticism, all organized significantly according to anarchist principles, are necessities. The existence of a sufficient amount of real alternatives, and a general balance of strength, significant stopping power in the meaning of domination, economical and political/administrative in public and private sectors, may also be mentioned.
10. A real scientifical, i.e. a non-dogmatic anarchist way of thinking, as opposed to populist/fascist and relativist, marxist dialectical and liberalist more or less metaphysical way of thinking, is another important thing. By real scientifical we mean using the natural scientifical method broadly defined, thinking principally and that hypothesis may be rejected, also taking into account realistic future scenarios related to different alternatives and actions, costs and benefits. Thus thinking, say, if this and that are the conditions, and these are the alternative actions, what are the probable alternative outcomes, — and then decide what actions are best, real democratic i.e. what is in the interest of the less benefitial majority of the population, the people vs the authorities and upper classes. “Best arguments win” and to get “competence effectively and fair through in the system” are benchmarks in this context. An efficient and fair dialog in the public room, as indicated with free and matter of fact criticism, working horizontally and/or from the bottom, the people and grassroots — upwards — is a must. To criticize the present proposals and situations without having a clearly better realistic alternative, is quite useless. For higher degrees of anarchy, usually different forms of co-operatives and federalist/confederalist, libertarian direct democracy, i.e. organized according to anarchist principles, are important parts of the economic-political system.
11. The concepts and different perspectives of anarchism are defined in real terms with the AI-IFA-principles including libertarian human rights, the Oslo-Convention, etc., and as anarchy vs other -archies: In anarchism hierarchy is usually defined as a) “the power or rule of a hierarch or hierarchs”, in the meaning of economically and/or political/administrative rulers and ruling, i.e. economical and political/administrative hierarchy respectively — significant and/or b) such rule by priests or other clergy, church government, or c) the group of officials in such systems. However the word hierarchy in the today also usual meaning of d) “any group of persons or things arranged in order of rank, grade, class, etc.” is also sometimes used, and e) thus also hierarchy in the meaning of any tendency towards or of hierarchy defined as point a). The negation of e) is 100% of anarchy, the anarchist ideal, and the negation of a) is significant anarchy, the anarchy degree > 50%. Briefly defined State in a broad societal meaning is systems with significantly large rank and/or income differences and inefficient, i.e. significantly vertically organized. Anarchies are systems with significantly small rank and income differences, plus efficiency, i.e. significantly horizontally organized.
A. The economical dimension — the percentage degree of socialism, i.e. the degree of economical freedom, solidarity and equality, etc. — in short economical democracy vs plutarchy, significant economical hierarchy (capitalism — theft, broadly defined). Democracy means, quite simplified, “one person — one vote”, i.e. equal votes for all in the elections, also direct democracy. Markets however mean “one dollar (or other means of payment) — one vote”. Thus markets are only economically democratic, i.e. not plutarchical, as far as money or other means of payment, among other things, the purchasing powers, are significant equally distributed according to anarchist principles. And thus, markets are probably only anarchistic, i.e. real democratic, if they are publicly regulated in a libertarian way, with free contracts — not slave contracts, etc. (See also point C.)
B. The political/adminstrative dimension — the percentage degree of autonomy, i.e. the degree of political/administrative freedom, solidarity and equality, etc. in short political/administrative democracy vs vertically organized political/administrative systems, i.e. statism broadly defined, significant political/administrative hierarchy, monarchy, oligarchy, polyarchy and/or ochlarchy (mob rule) included, in both public and private sector.
C. If a economical plutarchy, i.e. the relatively rich, take over significant political/administrative hierarchy in public and private sector, a political/adminstrative plutarchy is introduced. This is a form of populism/fascism. If significant political/administrative hierarchy, say, a military junta, take over significant economical hierarchy in public and private sector, another form of fascism/populism is established. Any combination of statism combined with plutarchy (capitalism) is a form of fascism. The statism may take the form of monarchy, oligarchy, polyarchy and ochlarchy (mob rule, mafia, chaos, no human rights, no real law and order, real lawlessness, etc.) included, and principally also be based on political/administrative plutarchy, or combinations, in both public and private sector.
D. As mentioned, these concepts should be considered in real terms, not formal or symbolic terms. Anarchists are interested in what de facto and in reality, are going on in society, not formal or symbolic values, government, rule and hierarchies. Symbolic and formal things and positions are only interesting to the extent they influence realities. The words realdemocracy and libertarian(s) (meaning the same as the French libertaire, German freiheitliches, Norwegian frihetlig, libertær) are used synonymously with anarchy, anarchist(s) and anarchism, unless otherways defined.
E. Society is public sector plus private sector. This mix is a question of convenience (dependent on fulfillment of other principles, not one in in itself), and public sector should not be mixed up with the concept of government, i.e. vertically organized. Grassroots public service workers are not a part of the bureaucracy/government. The two sectors may be more or less horizontally vs vertically organized, i.e. relatively small vs large rank and/or income differences, etc.
F. Where do we stand on capitalism vs socialism? That depends on what you mean with “capitalism”. If you mean capitalism = economical and/or political plutarchy , rule by the rich, economical hierarchy, we are against it. Anarchy is not plutarchy. However we are for that the people, as opposed to the authorities, shall be mighty rich, i.e. plenty of public and private market as well as environmental goods.
12. The anarchist ideal and the basic principles of the Anarchist International are the following: The aim is more anarchist systems, i.e. a movement towards more libertarian human rights and the best of the ideals of the French revolution, fairness and efficiency related to market goods and services as well as ecological factors, less rank and income differences. Anarchy, anarchism, anarchist a.s.o. mean as mentioned coordination on equal footing, without superiors and subordinates, i.e. horizontal organization and co-operation without coercion. The basic IFA /IAF principles of the anarchist ideal are: The negation of authority and all of its power, hierarchies and juridical laws. Freedom, equality, solidarity, social justice, free contract, free initiative, atheism, antimilitarism, internationalism, decentralism, autonomy and federalism, self management (autogestion) and ‘comunismo libertario’, i.e. not communism without adjective, but libertarian communalism — from each according to ability — to each according to needs. These concepts and principles should be considered all in all, not partially. Anarchists are not commies, i.e. marxian and marxist.
Thus: Freedom, i.e. free people, freedom without damaging the freedom of other people. Federalism without autonomy is not anarchist. Social justice means a) anarchist law (rules) and court systems, compatible with the negation of hierarchy, etc., i.e. alternatives to authoritarian juridical laws; and b) antimilitarist corps broadly defined, sufficiently strong to keep order and keep up the balances of strength, as well as stop militarism, intra- and internationally. Generally speaking, antimilitarism is not pacifism...
These concepts and principles seen all in all, reflect different aspects of autonomy broadly defined, and socialism, as negations of statism and capitalism respectively. The basic social dimensions, (1) statism vs autonomy and (2) capitalism vs socialism, have many aspects.
Different perspectives, the feminist, environmental, i.e. ecological and green perspective, intergenerational, subordinate positions due to lack of structure or organization, people on their knees or flat on their face because of drugs, etc.; are included in the concepts of rank an income broadly defined. Religious and guru organizations are principally considered as special forms of (political)/administrative rank and economic hierarchies, i.e. mainly based on psychological power & ruling techniques, and non atheist ideology, i.e. mysticism, “deep ecology”, utopian fogarchy, “new age environmentalism”, dialectical left or right hegelian formulæ, and similar authoritarian humbug and pseudoscience. * Anarchism is not, and should not, be expanded towards a totalitarian system. Other kinds of hierarchies, say, in sports, games, etc., are, as long as it is fair play, mainly not relevant from anarchist perspective. Scientific validity is not a political/administrative rank question, and authority must not be mixed up with competence. This should not be forgotten in education & research, and economics & politics, broadly defined... — experts, also of anarchism, may be useful, but they shall not rule or be rulers. Technarchy is not anarchy.
13. Practically speaking anarchy, anarchism, etc. are systems and human relations with relatively small economic and rank differences, i.e. more horizontally than vertically organized. However, the anarchist ideal, i.e. with no such hierarchies at all, should not be forgotten as a leading star and standard for economic and political/administrative navigation.
14. It is important to understand that the word state related to anarchism is used about two different concepts: 1. the state as a general social or societal organizational concept, i.e. significant economical and/or political administrative hierarchy, and 2. the state as a purely political/administrative concept, statism, i.e. significant political/administrative hierarchy. Both these concepts is relevant for private as well as public sector, activities, services and enterprises, both in market and environmental perspective. Thus, principally, as indicated above, the concepts of state related to anarchism, must not be mixed up with the concept of State defined as 3. central/federal/confederal public sector, or 4. the whole country, nation, society or system. Anarchism and anarchists are principally opposed to, and want alternatives to the state in the meaning of 1. and 2., but not opposed to the State in the meaning of 3. and 4., and this must principally never be mixed up. However the anarchist principle of decentralization indicates that the bulk of public activities should be related to the municipalities, not a central/federal/confederal body. But taking all anarchist principles into account it will in general not be optimal to only have communal public sector, i.e. no central/federal/confederal public organization. However the central/federal/confederal public enterprises and decision organs may very well be spread to local commmunes all over the countries, say, a confederal decision may be taken by referendum or general consent in all the municipalities, and not necessarely located to a delegated council in the capital city (perhaps a capital city is not even necessary.)
15. What is critical to grasp is the ecological interrelatedness of the world around us. All political economical thinking must principally take the ecological perspective into account. We cannot just limit ecology to wilderness areas and academic papers; ecology in general — and human and social ecology especially, say, workplace environment, local, regional and global environment and resource management, must be an integrated part of anarchism. There will be a) no real anarchism without ecology sufficiently integrated, just market orientated half-anarchism, and b) no real ecology without anarchism in a societal perspective, only authoritarian or pseudolibertarian half-environmentalism.
16. What is the most basic relation between anarchism and ecology? Anarchism is about decentralization and the other above mentioned non-governmental principles. These principles are very important to an ecologically sustainable economical growth and human presence in the world, today and in the future. In order for people to live more ecologically, there needs a.o.t. to be more decentralized, non-governmental, communities. However quite autarkist villages and countries are in general not anarchist, i.e. autarky, self-sufficiency, is not an anarchist principle. This green anarchist policy, the environmental and eco-anarchist perspective, is opposed to the present economical political system, which attempts to centralize resource use and management, i.e. disoptimal environmentally in a balanced political economy perspective, say, the result is too much market goods compared to the environmental and ecological factors. In other words, in order for sustainable communities to survive in a long term perspective, with optimal political economical coordination, production and distribution, both in market goods and ecological perspective, there needs to be a decentralization of the social organization structures, in general more green anarchy, i.e. anarchism as defined above in the eco-anarchist manifesto.
17. As indicated above the eco-anarchist movement must not be mixed up with neo-luddist/ludditist, primitivist, dis- and anti-civilizationist and similar groups and policies, i.e. typically ochlarchist, authoritarian and far from anarchist. The eco-anarchist movement has a rational, libertarian socialist basis for its policy, and rejects principally marxian and other dialectical type ideology, “new-age” and/or “Skippy&Disney” utopian based “animal liberation”, vegetarian fanatism, irrational environmentalism, and similar authoritarian tendencies. The eco-anarchist movement is clearly opposed to and in general denounces the sometimes fanatical and irrational tendencies and guru-hierarchies, say “deep ecology”, “spiritual ecology”, etc. we have seen within the ecology and green movement in general, as well as terrorism and ochlarchy tendencies, sometimes wrongly called “anarchist” in the media.
18. The eco-anarchists, via GAIA, The Green Anarchist International Association, are engaged in all kinds of environmental issues, also, say, work-place environment — included problems with ochlarchy (mob rule) and bad physical environment. This item may be closely related to the anarchist principle of autogestion. Sometimes there may be conflicting interests between GAIA and the environmental issues on the one hand, and on the other the anarcho-syndicalist and other sections of the Anarchist International, as well as unions and industrial organizations in general, primarily interested in market goods and services in public and private sector, and not the environmental factors in general. The Anarchist International has several ways to deal with such conflicts based on fairness, efficiency, social justice and other anarchist principles.
19. The double oppression of anarchists and the people in general, both via non-ecological and environmental factors demands a double fight and double organizing: on the one hand in green movement in general, on the other hand in the organizations of anarchists. The eco-anarchists form a junction in this double organizing. An essential point in eco-anarchism is that the changes must begin today, not tomorrow or after a mega-revolution. The revolution shall be permanent. We must start today by seeing through the oppression and negative environmental situation in the daily life and do something to break the pattern here and now. We must act autonomously, without delegating to any leaders significant the right to decide what we wish and what we shall do: we must make decisions all by ourselves in personal matters, together with other green activists in pure environmental matters, and together with the other people in common ecological and other matters.
20. GAIA is an abbreviation for the Green Anarchist International Association, but also the Greek word for the Latin term Tellus, the name of the planet Earth used in astronomy. Gaia and Tellus are also used as names for the Earth thought of as a god, a divine “mother earth”, in ancient mythology, but this interpretation has of course no interest in eco-anarchist perspectiv, i.e. a secular project. The eco-anarchists and the GAIA organization are however naturally interested in making “mother earth”, our material planet, a better place to live for the people of the world, especially environmentally and ecologically, sustainable, now and in the future.
The eco-anarchists were and are in the frontline in the fight against acid rain and holes in the ozon-layer. The fight against the man-made global warming is now at the top of the agenda for anarchist direct actions, to save the global environment. The single most important case is the fight against man-made global warming. Regarding the struggle against man-made global warming, the eco-anarchists are in the forefront, and demand joint international cooperation to solve the problem.
Appendix: Environmental economics and anarchism
Economics is a body of knowledge (a science) that has certain theories, values, methods, and assumptions. One goal of economists is to understand how to produce goods and services for society in the most efficient (Pareto-optimal) manner. This is achieved a.o.t. by having a better understanding of human activities in a “free” market system.
Environmental economics is a distinct branch of economics that acknowledges the value of both the environment and economic activity and makes choices based on those values. The goal is to balance the economic activity and the environmental impacts by taking into account all the costs and benefits. The theories are designed to take into account a.o.t. pollution and natural resource depletion, which the current model of “free” market systems fails to do. This “failure” needs to be addressed by correcting prices so they take into account “external” costs. External costs are uncompensated side effects of human actions. For example, if a stream is polluted by runoff from agricultural land, the people downstream suffer a negative external cost or externality.
The assumption in environmental economics is that the environment provides resources (renewable and non-renewable), assimilates waste, and provides aesthetic pleasure to humans, in general environmental goods and services. These are economic functions because they have positive/negative economic value. However, traditionally, their value was not recognized because there is no market for these services (to establish a price), which is why economists talk about “market failure”. Market failure is defined as the inability of “free” markets to reflect the full social costs or benefits of a good, service, or state of the world. Therefore, when markets fail, the result will be inefficient or unfavorable allocation of resources. Since economic theory wants to achieve efficiency and fairness, environmental economics is used as a tool to find a balance in the world’s system of resource use, goods and services.
Another basic term in environmental economics is the idea of “scarcity.” Historically, goods and services provided by the environment were seen to be limitless, having no cost, thus not considered scarce. Scarcity is a misallocation of these services (which are not limitless) due to a pricing problem. If resources were properly priced to include all costs, then the resource could not be over-exploited because the actual cost would be too high. This is a powerful tool in environmental problems: Proper pricing.
The key to the environmental economics approach is that there is value from the environment and value from the economic activity — the goal is to balance the economic activity with environmental degradation a.s.o. by taking all costs and benefits into account.
A market is here defined as a social arrangement that allows buyers and sellers to discover information and carry out a voluntary exchange of goods or services. We as human beings are exposed to
1. market goods and services, which we usually can buy to that extent as marginal utility is equal to the price [the maximization of utility will make the (marginal utility)/price = the marginal utility of income. If we conventionally choose to measure utility in terms of income (money or labor notes), the marginal utility of income, the budget, = 1, and thus marginal utility = price].
2. environmental goods (or bads) and services, that we cannot buy in that way, as well as
3. some free goods and services that can be consumed freely to no price, i.e. it can be consumed to that extent that marginal utility is zero.
The traditional model for the consumers’ behaviour, max U = U(y) given the budget p’y = r, where U is utility, y is the volume-vector for market commodities, p is the price-vector for y, and r is the budget (income), gives no information of prices on environmental externalities. If however we use a model with explicitly formulated relations between consumption of environmental externalities, exogenous amounts of these externalities and the use of market commodities which affects consumption of the externalities and eventually other variables in the consumers’ preferances, we can under certain conditions estimate the implicit prices, equivalents to market prices, of the environmental externalities. If the vector x is the factors directly influencing utility, U = U(x), including environmental externalities, the vector y is market commodities, and A is the quality-matrix indicating the connection between y and x, and the vector k is exogenous amounts of the environmental externalities, and r is the consumer’s budget for market commodities, we have the model max U= U(x) given x = Ay + k plus the budget condition p’y = r. If the inverse to A , i.e. A^(-1), exists, we have y = A^(-1)x — A^(-1)k. Putting this equation into the budget gives the following model, max U = U(x) given the budget equation r + p’A^(-1)k = p’A^(-1)x, where p’A^(-1) are the implicit prices, the equivalents to market prices, for x, i.e. including the environmental externalities. What we here have concluded for environmental externalities is of course also valid for environmental goods and services in general, also energy flows. Thus we can under these rather general assumptions estimate implicit prices, equivalents to market prices, for x, included environmental goods and services in general, and use them in Cost-Benefit Analysis. If we again set the marginal utilty of the budget conventionally = 1, the marginal utilities of x is equal to p’A^(-1) for U = U(x) max. The implicit prices, equivalents to market prices, for x, are the same whether we use a cardinal or ordinal approach to utility maximization.
Central to environmental/green economics is, as indicated above, the concept of an externality. This means that some effects of an activity are not taken into account in its price. For instance, pollution in excess of the socially “optimal” level may occur if the prices a producer pays do not include the impacts (costs) experienced by those adversely affected. One frequently-noted example of an externality is Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons, which occurs in connection to collective goods (goods that are “non-excludable” and “non-rival” — that is, they are open to all). Visitors to an open-access recreational area will use the resource more than if they had to pay for it, leading to environmental degradation. This of course assumes that there is no other policy instrument (for example, permits, regulation) being used to control access.
In economic terminology, these are examples of market failures, and that is an outcome which is not efficient in an economic sense. Here the inefficiency is caused because too much of the polluting activity will be carried out, as the polluter will not take the interests of those adversely affected by the pollution into account. It is one of the tasks of the green anarchist international (GAIA) to work to correct the market failures in a non-governmental, anarchist, way and produce environmental goods and services at an optimal level according to human needs.
In case the Garret Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons is concerning an ordinarely individual good, the problem may be solved by privatisation of the common good and using the market for allocation. This will not however not work efficiently for collective or semicollective good.
The nature of the environmental commodities are so that they cannot technically be distributed in the same way as market goods and free goods. Environmental goods (and bads) and sercives are often by nature commodities that are “non-excludable” and “non-rival” — that is, they are collective or semicollective commodities, open to all. The market fails to deal with such commodities in an efficient (Pareto-optimal) way. They can only be efficiently (optimally) produced and distributed by collective action. To avoid “free riders” this must be done via public sector, horizontally organized, in an anarchy.
In some cases the recipients of an environmental externality, say pollution, may sue the polluter via anarchist courts which are a part of the horizontally organized public sector. In other cases the people concerned may use Cost Benefit Analysis to price the environmental goods (bads) and services, and use collective action via the horizontally organized public sector to achieve the optimal level of pollution.
Some people, mainly engineers often — wrongly — operates with rather fixed input-rates of energy, say oil, in their models. Economists on the other hand operates with the more realistic law of substitution, i.e. the same job, say agriculture as harvesting potatoes, can be done manually, sustainable, with little to no use of oil, or with using a large tractor, which uses much oil, non-sustainable. Thus we can substitute the use of large tractors and much oil in general with more manual labor. Thus we will need more hands in an environmentally sustainable economy than in a non-sustainable. Thus, there is no problem with full employment in an environmentally sustainable economy. By setting the price of crude oil via taxes to about 150 US$ per barrel adjusted for inflation, solar and wind energy become profitable and will be substituted in stead of oil. This will force, say, the US economy to be environmentally sustainable. Development of fusion atomic energy will in the long run solve the energy problem.