I live in a snooty area. Why? Because the schools are outstanding. And I'm a snob (not really, but it's easier to say that than to explain the chain of events that lead to me living in a snooty area). The town where I live is home to one of the top golf courses in the world--Muirfield Village. It is one of the first golf courses that Jack Nicklaus designed, he still has a home on the course, and every year that course hosts the PGA's Memorial Tournament--sometime's referred to as golf's 5th major. This year, the course will host the President's Cup--a biennially golf tournament pitting a team of the best U.S. golfers against a team from the rest of the world (minus Europe--which apparently doesn't count as part of the rest of the world, or something). Because residents of Muirfield Village have been known to 'sneak' around the temporary orange plastic fences the course erects every year to keep out the riff-raff, for the President's Cup, the tournament directors decided to erect a more permanent, higher, and less penetrable six-mile wrought-iron barrier with imposing looking spikes on top.
But it appears that Muirfield's attempr to keep out the free-riders has imposed an unintended costs:
Some Muirfield Village residents don’t like the black iron fence that was constructed in July to
separate their backyards from the Muirfield golf course.
They say the pointy-tipped enclosure looks more like a fence for a graveyard than one for a
prestigious golf course. They say they bought their homes for access to a parklike setting and to
watch elite golf.
And they really didn’t expect the dead deer.
At least twice this month, deer have died after trying to jump the 5-foot fence. One was impaled
on the fence’s finials and left hanging. The other, found with broken legs, was put down by Dublin
So I was reading this CNN story this morning about the recent increase in bottlenose dolphin deaths on the east coast.
The carcasses of dozens
of the marine mammals, seven times more than normal, have been washing
up on beaches this summer, and scientists are struggling for answers to
In Virginia alone, at
least 164 dead dolphins have been found this year, said Joan M. Barns,
public relations manager for the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
Almost half of those, 78, have washed ashore in August, she said.
As of Tuesday, federal
authorities say, they have recorded 228 dolphin deaths this year from
New York to Virginia. In all of 2012, 111 deaths were recorded.
'Why,' you ask, 'would I bother reading about dolphins?' Well, I'm glad you asked. First, dolphins are cute. And B), I seem to have spent a significant portion of my adult life studying ways to use economics to inform decision makers on environmental and natural resource disasters. So, upon reading of an anomolous (that's odd) increase in dolphin deaths, I naturally wonder, what are the costs of dolphin deaths, and what are the benefits of preventing dolphin deaths?
So how do I find teh value of a dolphin. Naturally I turn to the only reliable source for finding such information...Google. So I Googled 'value of a dolhin.' No, reallym, that's what I Googled. because my typing skills suck. Fortunately, Google planned for my sucky typing skills and gave me results for 'value of a dolphin.'*
At its most basic, the process now consuming teams of BP and
government scientists and lawyers revolves around this: How much is a
dolphin worth, and how exactly did it die?
extraordinarily difficult to monetise environmental harm. What dollar
value do we place on a destroyed marsh or the loss of a spawning ground?
What is the price associated with killing birds and marine mammals?
Even if we were capable of meaningfully establishing a price for
ecological harm, there is so much that we do not know about the harm to
the Gulf of Mexico – and will not know for years – that it may never be
possible to come up with an accurate natural resource damage
assessment," said David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of
Michigan and a former head of the justice department's environmental
Warning: Snark ahead. Well, gee, if only the lawyers could figure out a way to value environmental harm? Or a way to place a dollar value on dead birds or marine mammals. Maybe, just maybe, a bunch of people should get together and think about how lessons learned from how people place values on things like blenders and hamburgers can be translated into ways to place values on things like oil spills, or fish kills, or fish species, or natural hazard mitigation. And, maybe, with some pie-in-the-sky thinking, these new methods for valuing the impossible might develop to the point where someone could write a book explaining the methods with an obtuse title like "Valuing Environmental and Natural Resources."
Maybe. Oh, Maybe. Someday. One can hope.
*Have I ever mentioned that I am convinced that Google is the greatest invention ever?
The New Hanover County Commissioners had no qualms agreeing to the $3.7 million assessment for property owners near Masons Inlet, but adding an additional $30 onto some of these bills recently became a major source of contention.
The board voted earlier this week to split the $25,000 cost of monitoring the waterbird habitat near the inlet with nearby property owners at the north end of Wrighstville Beach – a complete reversal of their decision back in July.
Since the Mason's Inlet agreement was enacted in 1999, the county has been paying $12,500 for the bird habitat maintenance with the property owners splitting the other half. On July 15, the board unanimously voted to transfer that cost completely onto the property owners – adding an additional $30 per year onto their bills.
Monday's decision overturned this extra fee, forcing the county to pick up the tab again. ...
The county's vote on the assessment approved the total cost of $3,758,458. Residents now have a six-month window to pay their assessed fees. Wrightsville Beach property owners will pick up the $1.6 million for maintenance fees and Figure Eight property owners will pay $2.1 million for the dredged sand that was pumped onto its eroded beach.
Here is my solution to any aquatic invasive specie problem. Have the
government start a covert marketing campaign designed to convince the
public that the invasive specie is in fact a delicacy. They can even
rename the specie to make it sound appetizing (think Toothfish to
Chilean Sea Bass). But here's the catch... once the public is convinced
of the delectable nature of the new exotic seafood, fail to regulate
the fishery. As demand increases, prices will rise and the tragedy of
the commons will eradicate the invaders.
"This blog aims to look at more of the microeconomic ideas that can be used toward environmental ends. Bringing to bear a large quantity of external sources and articles, this blog presents a clear vision of what economic environmentalism can be."
... the Environmental Economics blog ... is now the default homepage on my browser (but then again, I guess I am a wonk -- a word I learned on the E.E. blog). That is a very nice service to the profession. -- Anonymous
"... I try and read the blog everyday and have pointed it out to other faculty who have their students read it for class. It is truly one of the best things in the blogosphere." -- Anonymous