FWIW, in a ‘perfect world’ even the ‘greedy corporations’ would be driven to minimize damages… which should translate into reduced costs.
As a financial ultra-conservative, I am a big believer in the free market and can point to virtually all governmental interference as having negative consequence. Some, however, are absolutely necessary. As such, I would support financial incentives / disincentives associated with environmental impact. We should all be good stewards of our home.
The “government is only good when it does what I want it to do” theory. Good self-governance requires a willingness to compromise – give the other guy some of what he wants, the other guy gives me some of what I want. The willingness to accept that “the public good” is as meaningful as “personal good.”
If you believe maximizing profit delivers the greatest good, then you you have to consider the purposes to which those profits are then applied. All too often, it results in inefficiently-used surpluses. Profligate waste on the part of those who have more than they can possibly use, resources siloed in ways that produce nearly nothing, the asset inflation that comes from too much money chasing too few good ideas…. Instead of owning the resources (tax revenue) outright, government is forced to borrow from those who possess the surplus. That is profitable for those who hold the profits, unprofitable for the rest of society.
One problem I see with the anti-government drumbeat is that it paints all of governance with the same, negative brush. You can’t expect nuance from an absolutist ideology. There are too few ultra-conservatives who believe the environment is worthy of even financial incentive. They rightfully point to the added cost of those incentives, and decry it as another form of government waste. The environment is a long-term investment with a slow payback, and too few investors invest for the long term.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s ultra-left or ultra-right. If we leave all decision making to the private interests that control capital, they will do what is best for their own self-interest. If we leave all decision making to public interests, private interests may be trampled for “the greater good.” Government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires the cooperation of all the people.