Environment: Giving Greed a Chance

Is the "right" to pollute an ecologically sound idea?

The pell-mell pursuit of profits by businesses has long been a major source of pollution. But could such greed be used instead to help preserve the environment? A growing number of politicians and economists think so, and they have come up with the idea of allowing companies to buy and sell the "right" to pollute as part of a plan to encourage them to clean up their operations. Ultimately, there could be a national or even global market that would treat pollution permits like stocks and bonds.

The strategy is not so strange as it sounds; the Environmental Protection Agency has...

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