The point of the market telling polluters to clean up after themselves is to include the true cost…
Kelly Garvy
1

I really don’t know how you’re deriving the cost of pollution. Let’s say that I drop a candy bar wrapper on the sidewalk. You see the wrapper and stop and pick it up. Then you charge me $1000 dollars? How, exactly, did you determine that amount? Where did you get that figure from? Does it reflect the amount of psychic harm that my litter caused you? Does it reflect the cost of your labor? Does it reflect some kind of fine?

And even if you do come up with a very reasonable way to determine the true and actual cost of my litter… and even if I do accept the very reasonable premise that I should pay the cost of my litter… you still need some enforcement mechanism. How do you then determine how much money should be spent on enforcement? Does the city spend $1/year on enforcement… or $1,000,000,000/year on enforcement?

Every dollar that is spent on enforcing the litter law is a dollar that won’t be spent on public education or public healthcare or biodiversity conservation. So how, exactly, do you propose to get the balance right?

Authoritarianism isn’t so great at getting the balance right…

However well balanced the general pattern of a nation’s life ought to be, there must at particular times be certain disturbances of the balance at the expense of other less vital tasks. If we do not succeed in bringing the German army as rapidly as possible to the rank of premier army in the world…then Germany will be lost! — Adolf Hitler (1936)

Democracies, representative or otherwise, also fail in this regard…

This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. — John F. Kennedy (1961)

From my perspective, a pragmatarian market is the only way to get the balance right. If you’re more concerned with litter than you are with defense, then you’d spend your own tax dollars accordingly. The balance would be right because it would be the aggregation of everybody’s priorities.