Profiteering or Environmentalism

This morning, I came across this cartoon that Ted Rall published in April.  Click on the link or on thumbnail below for the readable version at the site that’s paying him.

I think there are some distinctions to be drawn here.  On the one hand, it does  cost money to degrade the environment.  So businesses that cut costs in the ways Mr Rall here takes to task may in fact be reducing their environmental impact.  Moreover, there are a great many uses of taxpayer money that benefit average consumers but are clearly bad for biodiversity, such as water subsidies.  Both the public sector and private economic actors, then, can adopt many policies which would be at once good for ecological diversity and bad for economic equality.

At the same time, there are economic actors who have great influence over the political system and who use that influence to distort markets to their advantage.  So, a company that develops a product that consumers are not interested in buying may well manufacture some pseudo-ecological reason why its competitors should be forbidden to sell their products, and if it sufficiently well-connected may succeed in passing laws to that effect.

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