“Today the conservation movement is led by sober business men and is based on the cold calculations of the engineers. Conservation, no longer viewed as a political issue, has become a business proposition…. The old school looked on conservation as a governmental function; the new school believes in entrusting it to the hands of business men and engineers.”
– Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933), pp. 784–85.
Profit-seeking conservation is nothing new, as economists have noted. So why must we assume that self-interested conservation is a ‘market failure’ requiring government subsidies and mandates? Why is market decision-making with energy necessarily sub-optimal?
And if “market failure” is posited, what must be said about “government failure”? Political processes are human too, and worse, bureaucrats do not have their own hard-earned cash on the line.…