Biodiversity in the Marketplace

Geoffrey Heal

Published: December 2000

What is the nature of biodiversity as an economic commodity and why does it matter? How would its conservation contribute economically to our well-being? In this article, Geoffrey Heal considers three issues: Why is biodiversity important from an economic perspective? What kind of commodity is it? Does our usual economic mechanism, the market system, have the capacity to appreciate the economic value of biodiversity? The author first tries to characterize biodiversity from an economic perspective, and then considers the capacity of our main economic institutions to realize the value of biodiversity and ensure that it is treated in a way commensurate with its importance.

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