Putting a Value on Nature's "Free" Services

When economies and societies use misleading signals about what is valuable, people are encouraged to make decisions that run counter to their own long-range interests—and those of society and future generations. And, as Abramovitz points out, the failure to value nature's services is not the only reason why these services are misused. Too often, illogical and inequitable resource use continues—even in the face of evidence that it is ecologically, economically, and socially unsustainable—because powerful interests are able to shape policies by legal or illegal means. Often the people who get the benefits are not the ones who pay the costs.
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