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How Should We Manage Our Natural Resources? An Analysis

            For the purpose of this assignment, I will assume that I have been hired by a national government agency as a policy analyst, such as the EPA in the United States. I will herein provide a set of general rules my agency should follow in order to address problems associated with environmental commons as well as environmental justice issues. .
             The first problem to be addressed is deciding which type of management system to use for a particular type of resource. Obviously a one-size-fits-all environmental policy will not suffice on a national level. The main types of management systems that we should consider implementing include state-centered, community centered, market oriented, or a combination of any or all of these.
             It seems reasonable to conclude that delegation of environmental policy should be set on a local level, or community centered, and there is reason to believe that often it should. For issues such as landfill management, local watersheds, etc. which do not stretch past the boundaries of the community, I would suggest leaving decisions up to members of the particular community affected, with some forthcoming exceptions. Clearly, in the United States, any time it is feasible for citizens to make decisions affecting their lives this option should be used, as the alternative is not consistent with our democratic ideals. As is pointed out by Sanjay Kumar of Cambridge University in his paper "Does "Participation" in resource management Help the Poor? A Social Cost-Benefit Analysis of Joint Forest Management in Jharkhand, India" that communities that are made up of small, homogenous groups can be expected to manage a resource sustainably. However, he notes that these situations are the exception and not the rule. In the United States, these groups are even rarer because of our highly diverse society. Therefore, it may be less feasible to use community based management system as often as we would like.

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