Should Economic And Environmental Laws Overlap?

Economic law is simple in its discipline. It can mean two things: the basic laws that regulate the economy or an actual system of law governed by the economy. For the purpose of further simplification, we’re referring to the laws that help regulate our economy. Our legislators write these laws to prevent businesses from taking advantage of people (thus closely intertwining economic law with business law) and to try to prevent the economy from weakening.

Basically, the idea is simple but the implementation is difficult — if not impossible.

Environmental law is even easier to define. This branch of law prevents businesses and individuals from damaging our environment. It exists to protect our natural world from those who would abuse it.

When one considers these two branches of law, an obvious question arises: how do they affect one another? The answer is complicated. Obviously, how we treat the environment can have a great effect on our financial wealth overall. For example, Australia is on fire right now. This is a direct result of man-made climate change. These wildfires won’t only kill off potentially billions of endangered animals, but they’ve already led to dozens of human casualties. How many people have lost their homes?

The effort to prevent these fires from spreading further is an effort in futility, and we know it. The cost of these fires will be astronomical, and we know it. How could the damage have been prevented? With better environmental laws? Or with different economic laws? Should we watch one branch of law when considering the other? The obvious answer is yes. One branch affects the outcome of the other.

And it goes in the other direction, too. Economic law can affect the resources we have at our disposal to fight these climate catastrophes. The more wealth we accumulate, the easier it is to prevent disaster or protect our environment. And, hopefully, to enact even more stringent economic and environmental regulations. 

That’s becoming a much more difficult prospect around the world as conservative governments begin to tighten their hold on political power and do even more damage. The great irony is that conservatives are supposed to be fiscally responsible — but their actions have led to costs that can’t even be measured by traditional methods. On the other hand, liberal governments have done their best to reign in damaging behavior by those who pose a danger to the economy and environment, saving us money over time.

Of course, that’s a generalization. Followers of political parties do tend to hold to the party’s core beliefs, however. Here in the United States, the Republican party is only now waking up to the dangers of man-made climate change.