This passage made it into the section in a leading environmental text on the implementation of Benefit-Cost analysis:
Nevertheless, given the uncertainty illustrated in the graph … it is clear that the choice between A and B could not be made on benefit-cost grounds (ed: expected net benefits of program A are slightly larger than B, but each has enormous statistical uncertainty) … Given also the general conservative, anti-regulation philosophy of the Bush administration in power at the time, the choice of the less costly option B was perhaps not surprising.
This came a few pages after this comment:
Given that conservatives often push hardest for the use of benefit-cost tests, many environmentalists view benefit-cost analysis as merely a political tool for rolling back environmental gains, in part by burying the regulatory process under a mound of paperwork.
I’ll just note that the author index contains no Jim Buchanan, but does have Lester Brown. It contains no Julian Simon but does have Paul Ehrlich. It contains no Richard Stroup or John Baden or Bruce Yandle but does feature Mark Sagoff and Barry Commoner. Perhaps it should be classified as an Environmental Economics Text-Op-Ed.
And in case you have any doubts about his agenda:
Many have argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union demonstrates the ecological superiority of market-based economic systems over centrally planned systems. Environmental disaster in the former USSR certainly confirms that state socialism is not the answer to environmental problems.
OK, so he’s a realist … think again …
But the problem remains: market based economic systems have the potential to ultimately generate ecocide on a level comparable to that of communism.
Yeah … and it is POSSIBLE that people living in free societies can ultimately generate genocide on a level comparable to that of communism. Democratic socialism is not the answer. The lesson of the USSR is NOT that a lack of effective democracy will doom well-meaning government environmental initiatives to failure. The lesson should be that no government, no matter how well intentioned, has either the incentives or the information to manage an economy or preserve an ecosystem.