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Insuring the Future

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Environmental politics needs more than piecemeal institutional efforts and more than calls for a set of 'new' values. It needs a realistic, comprehensive, and effective policy programme. Such a programme can be derived from a conjunction of Hardin's work on the 'tragedy of the commons' and Beck's analysis of the 'risk society', and involves exploiting the possibilities for the internalisation of risk provided by the insurance and reinsurance industries. Such exploitation requires tailored changes to the politico-legal environment, enforcing strict liability for the production of risk, permitting any and all agents adversely effected by such negative externalities to initiate action for damages. The aim is not to clog up social and economic life with endless legal disputation, but through such a threat to ensure that environmentally significant investment and productive strategies are actively constrained by actuarially calculated strategies for risk internalisation.

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Keywords: externalities; insurance; liability; risk

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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