One of the more powerful quotes about the importance of taking nature seriously goes back to Oystein Dahle:
“Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth.”
It’s made all the more powerful as Mr. Dahle is invariably identified as the “former Exxon VP for Norway and the North Sea.” (The cognoscenti spell his first name “Øystein.”)
More to the point, it’s not just about ecological truths anymore. They are economic truths, and some of the very same ones that did socialism in.
When a ton of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere costs everyone around us $20, but we individually face a price of $0, that’s not unlike the phenomenon that led to “too big to fail” and the financial crisis: private benefits, socialized costs.
It’s socialism on a planetary scale, and it’s a hard economic truth.