Maximizing the market's ability to 'capture' the value of different environmental goods.
Mainstream economists advocate the conservation of environmental resources by effectively privatizing access. Tradable permits for sulfur emissions from power plants promise to limit total emissions at minimum total cost to electric utilities. Systems of market-based permits would limit global emissions of greenhouse gases.
There is no evidence that the market system can cope with the extraordinary tensions to result from the acceleration of demography and environmental degradation. Most marketing feelers are focused on the wealthy top billion and their signals are depressed by the current recession. The market is therefore mostly blind to the opportunity of billions of consumers aspiring to a better quality of life. Business is doing little to develop the goods and services which would ensure a sustainable consumption by the majority of the world's people.