Spring Gillard

Green Fees

No this is not about what you pay for a round of golf, this is about a sensible way to integrate external costs into the price of a product. Paul Hawken explains in the Ecology of Commerce (Harper Business, Revised Edition, 2010, p. 145).

The main function of green taxes is not to raise revenue for the government but to provide participants in the marketplace with accurate information about cost. They achieve both goals, of course, but their underlying purpose is to undo the distortions created by the relentless pursuit of lower prices and to reveal the true costs to purchasers. Green taxes would create, perhaps for the first time since the industrial age began, the closest thing to a free market, with many costs that are now externalized fully accounted for. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, there is nothing wrong with a free market; it’s just that no one has tried it yet.

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