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Über dieses Buch

This book systematically deconstructs the pervasive and counter-productive discourse surrounding environmental policy. The authors argue that environmental policy problems are always framed such that conflict is inevitable—a particular project or policy must be accepted versus a specific environmental asset that must be protected. Over the course of 12 chapters, the authors demonstrate that confident yet contradictory assertions by contending interests preclude necessary deliberation and reason giving. They argue that deliberation is an important social process of reflecting upon the reasons for doing something. Their innovative approach allows discourse and collaboration to continue, until—after honest and informed deliberation—the better way forward is arrived at. This approach to environmental policy illustrates just how very constructive and enabling the quest for the reasonable can be.



1. The Consequences of Pragmatism

In this chapter we present the general parameters of a pragmatist epistemology that will guide the framing of each of the specific environmental issues to be addressed later in the book. In short, the purpose here is to spell out the profound consequences of pragmatism for thinking about environmental policy.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

2. The Landscape Ahead

In this chapter we offer an overview of the material to be covered in the remainder of the volume. Our purpose here is to situate each environmental problem within a pragmatist epistemology, to demonstrate how pragmatism can serve as a valuable heuristic approach to diagnose urgent environmental problems, and to formulate plausible solutions to those pressing problems.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

Concepts and Concerns


3. The Nature of Nature

The common perception of nature is that it is an objectified thing “out there” somewhere. This mental view of nature arises from the standard subject–objective dichotomy that tends to define contemporary life. There are human beings, and then there are natural objects (wetlands) and phenomena (sunsets). And now there are human systems and natural systems. Much of the literature regards humans as standing apart from nature, while our interactions with nature tend to be harmful or exploitive. Environmentalism asks us to be kinder to this objectified other. We here challenge this narrative of apartness and suggest that humans are not subjects standing apart from an objectified nature. Humans are products of nature, and human life is sustained by nature. Humans are not external subjects of nature but are, rather, a mere variety of objects of nature.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

4. Environmental Governance

The idea that humans can “manage” nature is a modernist conceit. Natural systems and social (human) systems are always in the process of becoming. In this setting of unknowable dynamic emergence, it is not possible to design institutional arrangements—rules to live by—that permit an activity called “management.” The more fundamental challenge to the conceit of management is that humans are never sure what we want until we are put in a situation of having to work it out. We learn what we want by learning about what it might be possible for us to have. Science, properly engaged with the public, can contribute to this learning process. But science cannot hold itself up as an activity that produces truth about what it would be better to do. Sapient adults work that out, just as we work out the evolving meaning to us of the natural system. Science practiced outside of this realm of human meaning is impertinent.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

5. Stakeholders

One of the most common terms in the literature on environmental policy is that of “stakeholder.” Here we argue that the term suffers from a number of serious conceptual and practical defects. We develop a model of the “stakeholder game” in which stakeholders must be engaged in a game of reason giving. The essence of the stakeholder game is not to establish what is factual or true. Rather, the stakeholder game is concerned with particular self-appointed “experts” to appear before officials in an effort to persuade. The truth of stakeholder claims is irrelevant. We here examine the logic of participation and prerequisites of the meaningful game of asking for and giving reasons. We elaborate the nature and significance of three components—the game, the pleadings, and the reasons. We conclude by offering the conditions under which the stakeholder game might be considered legitimate.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

Practices and Problems


6. The Climate Problem

Climate policy is an exemplar of environmental problems in which political and scientific elites identify urgent problems, create idealized solutions, and then seek to convince everyone else to follow their lead. The current paralysis in climate policy arises because particular climate advocates are guilty of having made a serious category mistake. Taking a cue from economics, climate change has been framed as problem of “market failure”—as an “externality” requiring the same sort of response often applied to standard pollution problems. However, this framing of climate change as an “economic problem” has led policy makers to assume that there is an “economic solution” to the “economic problem.” That solution is to tax greenhouse gasses (GHGs) (primarily carbon), or to create a “cap-and-trade” program so that there can be trading of emissions. When highly developed countries then try to convince developing countries of the wisdom of such policies, there is surprise when poor countries are not enthusiastic about such plans. Climate change will remain problematic as long as it is framed as an economic problem—with gainers and losers. In this chapter, we offer an alternative way to frame the problem of climate change, and we suggest that had this approach been followed from the beginning, we would not today be locked in climate paralysis.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

7. Paying for Ecosystem Services

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) have become a popular approach to bring about improved environmental behaviors. When such programs are launched in developing countries, an additional benefit is that they are said to improve incomes for the poor. In this chapter, we argue that PES schemes are not “market-based.” Indeed, they are not even “market-like.” The incentive properties said to be present in such programs are of doubtful efficacy. We suggest that PES schemes are instances of a new class of transaction—the inducing transaction—whose purpose is to make certain resource users the instruments of the desires of others. We relate the success of PES schemes to Veblenian habituation and Peircean habit breaking and habit taking to suggest that PES schemes face a daunting challenge if they are to bring about durable behavioral changes.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

8. The Biodiversity Problem

We develop the general outlines of an evolutionary biodiversity policy that is consistent with the tenets of pragmatism. Our model is applied to recent experiences with biodiversity policy in Finland, especially a local policy initiative: natural values trading (NVT) (2003–2007). The purpose of this experiment was to explore how a voluntary, fixed-term, payment- and incentive-based scheme for biodiversity protection might perform. As a result of the experiment, the principles of the scheme have become a formalized part of Finnish forest biodiversity law and policy. We analyze the evolution of this particular institutional arrangement by applying Peircean semiosis and the negotiational psychology of Commons. A central component of our approach will be to explicate the role and significance of sign processes in: (1) how and why the need for new policy instruments emerges; (2) how those policies are developed, designed, and tested; and (3) how decisions about those new instruments are made. We urge that the sign process should play a greater role in how scholars understand the evolution of biodiversity policy. Semiosis is “good to think with.”
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

9. The Problematic Wolf

Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and since that time, the European Commission (EC) has shown growing impatience with Finland’s compliance with EU rules concerning the protection of wolves and other large carnivores. In 2005, the Commission referred the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which subsequently found Finland deficient in the strict protection of wolves. We investigate the reasons underlying the court case. We identify two problems in the realm of reason giving. The first problem arises from the lack of a causal model linking decentralized actions on the part of the subjects of administrative rules with the desired outcomes imagined by the centralized entities issuing the new administrative rulings. The second problem arises from the authoritarian tendencies of the EU that fail to understand the context of wolves for rural livelihoods in Finland. Both of these problems give rise to surprising practical effects emerging from the harmonization game. We introduce the concept of instrumentality with respect to the goal of sustainable wolf populations. We also introduce the concept of inverse high-grading of wolves under the umbrella of biodiversity protection. The EU and the people of rural Finland will continue to struggle over wolves until a more coherent policy goal, and a more defensible administrative rule structure, can be formulated.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

10. The Ocean Fisheriesocean fisheries Problem

The imperiled status of global fish stocks offers clear evidence of the comprehensive failure of national governments to provide coherent management to protect those stocks. The universal policy response to this failure consists in the free gifting to the commercial fishing sector of permanent endowments of income and wealth under various individual transferable quota (ITQ) schemes. In doing so, national governments have been convinced that the commercial fishing industry will become exemplary stewards, the industry will become more efficient, that the race for fish will be halted, and that society as whole will benefit from this approach. Most of these assertions have not come true. In this chapter, we present an approach to fisheries policy in which fishing firms would be required to bid—in an auction—for the opportunity to pursue and land a share of the pre-determined Total Allowable Catch (TAC). The bid would represent a royalty payment to national governments for the opportunity to catch fish and sell them in the market. In this way, the free gifting into perpetuity of ITQs would be converted into a renewable fishing permit generating royalty payments to the owners of the natural resource—the fish in the sea.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

11. The Deforestation Problem

There is an abundant literature in which tropical deforestation is blamed on weak property rights, corrupt forestry officials, roads leading into natural areas, high timber prices, and land-hungry peasants invading pristine forests. These alleged “causes” are favored because it is possible to build econometric models identifying just how each of the above factors seems plausibly causal. But this flawed opportunistic modeling cannot be taken seriously as long as the real reason for deforestation is excluded from such models. We argue that tropical deforestation happens because governments in those regions of the developing world want deforestation to happen as a means to earn foreign exchange, and to relieve political pressure for land reform on private farms and ranches. It is politically expedient to divert the landless into the forests.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley

12. Toward the Reasonable

In this summary chapter we seek to demonstrate that most environmental policy is driven by assured assertions about what is the best solution. Whether driven by the certitudes of economic models, or the equally assured claims of environmental ethicists—or ecologists—much environmental policy is carried out in terms of confident “truth claims.” We close with a call for a greater reliance on Deweyan discourse to counteract the scientific certainty often on display. Of course, there is an important role for scientific input on matters of water chemistry, the medical implications of particular pollutants, and the vicissitudes of systems ecology. But it does not follow that scientists always have the wisdom to frame the preferred solution to environmental problems. Economists seek solutions that are judged to be rationally efficient. Ecologists want solutions that privileges natural systems over other pressing social needs, and water chemists invariably wish for certain chemical properties to be “just right.” Our position is that searching for the reasonable among a large and informed community will lead to acceptable solutions that, in the fullness of time, will be considered to be ideal.
Juha Hiedanpää, Daniel W. Bromley


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