Weak Deliberative Democracy: The Democratic Potential of the Current State of Deliberative Monetary Valuation Research
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Deliberative monetary valuation (DMV) involves the use of formal deliberative methods to assess environmental values in monetary terms. The opportunities of small group discussion enable social construction of preferences and make room for non-economic value considerations. The practice is reviewed in light of a theory of deliberative democracy. Two comprehensive approaches are identified. Analytic DMV is built upon decision science and/or orthodox economics and focuses on individuals' cognition problems and information gap. Its democratic potential proves to be limited and the open process has been concluded in a narrow conception of value. Democratic DMV is apparently associated with democratic theories. Yet there is a tendency to privilege public interest considerations. This in effect makes the deliberation blind to reason and discourages the moral need of actual communication. Both approaches are identified with an impartialist stance embracing value convergence. This could undermine the capacity of realizing value pluralism under value conflict. From the perspective of deliberative democracy, neither do exclusive consumer nor citizen perspectives make sense. The incommensurability problems grapping with monetary valuation would otherwise go unresolved. The project of DMV is not sustainable without downplaying value hierarchy. Thus predefining a DMV-elicited monetary value as an economic construct is bound to fail. Two provocative conclusions are made for further debate. The economic nature of the monetary value should be left an open question. Ideal DMV outcome should be understood as 'approval to pay'.
Proceedings of the 2009 ANZSEE Conference
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Economic Theory not elsewhere classified