PDF Poisoned for Pennies The Economics of Toxics and Ø multi channel.co Ø

“Cost benefit analysis” is a term that is used so frequently we rarely stop to think about it But relying on it can lead to some dubious conclusions as Frank Ackerman points out in this eye opening book For example some economists have argued that states should encourage—and even subsidize—cigarette smoking by citizens because smoking will shorten life spans and therefore reduce the need and expense of caring for the elderly How did the economists reach that conclusion? The answer is cost benefit analysis Ackerman explains   Then in clear understandable language he describes an alternative precautionary approach to making decisions under uncertainty Once a mere theory the precautionary principle has now been applied in practice through the European Union’s REACH protocol Citing major studies many of which he has directed he shows that the precautionary approach has not only worked but has been relatively cheap   Poisoned for Pennies shows how the misuse of cost benefit analysis is impeding efforts to clean up and protect our environment especially in the case of toxic chemicals According to Ackerman conservatives—in elected office in state and federal regulatory agencies and in businesses of every size—have been able to successfully argue that environmental clean up and protection are simply too expensive But he proves that is untrue in case after case   Ackerman is already well known for his carefully reasoned attacks on the conventional wisdom about the costs of environmental regulation This new book which finds Ackerman ranging from psychological research to risk analysis to the benefits of aggressive pesticide regulation and from mad cow disease to lead paint will further his reputation as a thought leader in environmental protection We can’t afford not to listen to him


12 thoughts on “Poisoned for Pennies The Economics of Toxics and Precaution

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    This is a detailed treatment of approaches to setting environmental and health policy The book begins with a lengthy treatment of cost benefit analysis from various perspectives methodological empirical and ethical The author's view is that cost benefit analysis is primarily used as a tool to justify the lack of regulation of environmental and health hazards From a methodological perspective he argues that the assignment of costs typically overstates the costs or fails to take into account the economies of scale that would take place when alternative technologies are applied to regulated practices and products and that benefits are often understated by applying the notion of future value devaluation to health benefits including reduction in death rates that will take place in the future Ethically he questions the very idea of assigning dollar values to human life or health Empirically he shows how costs have in fact been much overstated than understatedThe remainder of the book consists of detailed case studies illustrating the flaws of cost benefit analysis and showing how alternative ways of evaluating proposed regulation would have better outcomes