Caroline Lucas speaks out!

On the subject of competing environmental goals and how we might choose between them.

She gives us a good example of what happens when someone with a PhD in Elizabethan poetry gets entangled in science, even a social science like economics.

She tells us that cost benefit analyses are not the way to take environmental decisions. For they reduce competing goals, the costs and benefits, to icky money dahlings.

She then uses the Severn Barrage as an example of a better way of decision making.

Entirely missing the point that the cost benefit analysis of the Severn Barrage showed that it was a bad idea that we should not build.


4 thoughts on “Caroline Lucas speaks out!”

  1. Bollocks bollocks bollocks .You may wish to covert every early Saxon Church in Sussex into a Car park on a cost analysis basis ; I do not .
    Whilst I loathe Caroline Lucas, ‘cost’ is not the only issue ever ,and this shows why scientific and economic problems should never be left to scienists or economists
    If they were left to those with degrees in English Literature that would suit me fine. 🙂

  2. Newmania,

    what sort of cost-benefit analysis would tell you that car parks are worth more than Early Saxon Churches? If cost-benefit analysis as knuckle-headed as that, then I’m with you. If cost-benefit analysis is flexible enough to handle “things of value based on more than their market revenue generating capacity”, then I’m not. I don’t actually know anything about the reality of cost-benefit analysis, so perhaps it really is knuckle-headed … can anybody enlighten me?

    (although someone’s going to pop up and tell me that unless something is priced by the voluntary exchange in a market, it cannot have a value. I can just feel it)

  3. Seems very unlikely that a car park on the location of a rural church would have any value at all- who would pay to park there? and it would definitely have a cost- to construct. However it seems to me that if the people (presumably but not necessarily acting through their elected representatives) wanted a building kept and maintained, whether as a place of worship, an architectural feature, or a historic monument (or all three) they should pony up the necessary to make the car park uneconomic on any cost benefit analysis, one way or another. If no-one is prepared to do that then the people don’t want the church much- even if they find it fashionable to say that they do.
    Using cost benefit analysis would lead a developer to build in the plot next door, thus giving best value overall.

  4. Re Severn Barrage, it depends on whom you mean by “we”. AFAIAC, the government shouldn’t spend a penny on this – what they should do is auction off the licence to build it, whoever offers most, builds it and keeps the profits if they calculated correctly and loses everything if they calculated wrong.

    If no private company is prepared to pay a positive sum, then it doesn’t get built, problem solved.

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