Perverse Subsidies: How Misused Tax Dollars Harm the Environment and the Economy

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Overview

<p>Much of the global economy depends upon large-scale government intervention in the form of subsidies, both direct and indirect, to support specific industries or economic sectors. Distressingly, many of these subsidies can be characterized as &quot;perverse&quot;-rather than helping society achieve a desired goal, they work in the opposite direction, causing damage to both our economies and our environments. Worldwide subsidies have long been thought to total $2 trillion per year, but until now, no attempt has been made to determine what proportion of that actually subverts the public interest.<p>In Perverse Subsidies, leading environmental analyst Norman Myers takes a detailed look at the subject, offering a comprehensive view of subsidies worldwide with a particular focus on the extent, causes, and consequences of perverse subsidies. He defines many different kinds of subsidies, from tax incentives to government handouts, and considers their wide-ranging impacts, as he: <ul> <li>examines the role of subsidies in policymaking <li>quantifies the direct costs of perverse subsidies <li>examines the major subsidies in agriculture, energy, road transportation, water, fisheries, and forestry <li>considers the environmental effects of those subsidies <li>offers policy advice and specific recommendations for eliminating harmful subsidies </ul>.<p>The book provides a valuable framework for evaluation of perverse subsidies, and offers a dramatic illustration of the scale and dimensions of the problem. It will be the standard reference on those subsidies for government reform advocates, policy analysts, and environmentalists, as well as for scholars and students interested in the interactions between policymaking and environmental issues.

Much of the global economy depends upon large-scale government intervention in the form of subsidies, both direct and indirect, to support specific industries or economic sectors. Distressingly, many of these subsidies can be characterized as "perverse"-rather than helping society achieve a desired goal, they work in the opposite direction, causing damage to both our economies and our environments.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559638357
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 275
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Myers is an independent scientist specializing in environmental issues, based in Oxford, England. Since 1992 he has been an Honorary Visiting Fellow at Green College, Oxford University, and is widely recognized for his pioneering conceptual and analytical approaches toward our environments. His books include Ultimate Security (Island Press, 1996), and The Primary Source (Norton, 1992).

Jennifer Kent is a researcher specializing in environment and sustainable economics based in Oxford, England.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures, and Boxes
Preface
Pt. I Background
Ch. 1 Introduction: What Are Subsidies? 3
Ch. 2 When Do Subsidies Become Perverse? 22
Pt. II Sectoral Analyses
Ch. 3 Agriculture 39
Ch. 4 Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Energy 63
Ch. 5 Road Transportation 95
Ch. 6 Water 120
Ch. 7 Fisheries 148
Ch. 8 Forestry 159
Ch. 9 Overview Assessment 187
Pt. III Policy
Ch. 10 What Shall We Do About It All? 197
Notes 207
Index 267
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