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Monkeywrenching, Perverse Incentives and Ecodefence

Derek D. Turner

Environmental Values 15(2006): 213-232. doi: 10.3197/096327106776678870


By focusing too narrowly on consequentialist arguments for ecosabotage, environmental philosophers such as Michael Martin (1990) and Thomas Young (2001) have tended to overlook two important facts about monkeywrenching. First, advocates of monkeywrenching see sabotage above all as a technique for counteracting perverse economic incentives. Second, their main argument for monkeywrenching - which I will call the ecodefence argument - is not consequentialist at all. After calling attention to these two under-appreciated aspects of monkeywrenching, I go on to offer a critique of the ecodefence argument. Finally, I show that there is also a tension between the use of cost/benefit analysis to justify particular acts of ecosabotage and the clandestine nature of those acts.

KEYWORDS: Cost/benefit analysis, deep ecology, ecodefence, ecosabotage, monkey-wrenching

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Are We at War with Nature?Derek D. Turner

The Morality of Ecosabotage Thomas Young

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