Again with the idiosyncratic definitions, this guy. Stewardship is a stab at mimicking a euvoluntary exchange when one of the transacting parties is unable or unwilling to haggle the terms of an exchange for one reason or another. The wards of a steward could be minors, infirm, comatose, mentally vacant, or brute animals. For that matter, 'tis common usage to assign stewardship over land, intellectual property, or other intangibles.
Over at Sweet Talk, I followed up yesterday's post with some musings about environmental degradation that often gets a lot of talk, but not so much conspicuous accounting (by this, I mean that many journalists and activists balk at the notion of attaching a dollar value to the environment, even though the BLM and USGS do indeed provide these estimates). My question is this: is stewardship euvoluntary? There must be some price at which keeping a species alive can no longer be justified. But since necessarily one party is unable to advocate on its own behalf, what is the just way to find that margin?
Majority rule probably isn't very good. People with no resources directly on the line have no incentive to vote prudently. How about fiat rule by elites? Is that any better? Why or why not?
Economists like to flog the idea of private (or quasi-private) ownership of wild herds. Assigning residual claims to a human foists all the good private incentives where they can be calculated more-or-less accurately with all that lovely skin in the game that keeps folks honest. But with global-scale threats, this is... well, let's call it "problematic" to assign residual rights to a single individual. In lieu of that, what's the next best way to solve the knowledge problem when we've got looming stewardship issues for the several species under the threat of extinction?
For those exchanges that can never be euvoluntary, it seems wise to seek robust surrogate pricing methods. Primum non nocere bleeds the coffers dry, laissez faire soaks the veldt in innocent blood. Surely there is a better way. Surely some reckoning is at hand.