Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides: An Economic Approach

Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides: An Economic Approach

Book reviews addressed is the idea of NIABY (not in anyone’s backyard). This idea is truly telling that most realize pollution or production or whate...

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Book reviews

addressed is the idea of NIABY (not in anyone’s backyard). This idea is truly telling that most realize pollution or production or whatever development plan may be harmful; and possibly no amount of monetary compensation will due. The next two chapters discuss the players involved in distributional conflicts with examples from around the world illustrating that ‘‘. . .social movements oppose dams, pipelines and mines built by states themselves or by corporations sponsored by states’’; and the ecological debt that surmounts from ecological distribution controversies and how these debts should be tallied. Martinez-Alier again draws from a plethora of examples to illustrate the unequal exchange of sources of resources and sinks of waste. The final chapter bridges political ecology and ecological economics. Ecological economics provides the theory and political ecology fosters the union between the conflict, social factors, and the groups with differing interests. This chapter also has a very helpful section containing the names and definitions of ecological distribution conflicts. The author states that the ‘‘hierarchy of needs’’ does apply to all developing countries—people’s lives depend on clean air and water and soil, not marketed goods. This book is incredibly dense with concepts, questions, and excellent examples. Martinez-Alier enlightens us to look past the assumption that poor are not concerned with environmental issues and cites numerous examples of their struggles and triumphs against multinational corporations. I enjoyed The Environmentalism of the Poor and through many examples Martinez-Alier achieved his objective to inform and educate the reader about ecological distribution conflicts, environmental movements, and investigate the relationship between political ecology and ecological economics. Because this book is rich with historical and current examples and principles of ecological economics and political ecology, I recommend it to professionals, academics, undergraduates, and graduate students alike. Karen Stainbrook 1130 North Wolcott Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622, USA E-mail address: [email protected] doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.03.004

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Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides: An Economic Approach R. Laxminarayan (Editor), Resources for the Future, 2003, ISBN: 1891853511, 400 pp. The collection of papers edited by Ramanan Laxminarayan and called ‘‘Battling Resistance to Antibiotics and Pesticides: An Economic Approach’’ is a timely, fascinating book. Work of this nature has been long overdue because of the increasing problems associated with the resistance of pests to pesticides and virulent bacteria to antibiotics in the last few decades. The papers in this collection are ground breaking and for the first time bring together various approaches that deal with the economic aspects of resistance including the economic costs of such resistance. Battling resistance to pesticides and antibiotics is important because they are twin problems affecting agriculture and the health of humans costing countries and individuals millions of dollars each year. Such resistance, if it continues unchecked, could threaten the survival of humankind. The book reveals that the magnitude of resistance is large and urgent action is needed to counteract the twin problems of resistance of pests to pesticides and bacteria to antibiotics. This is of utmost importance and economics can play a vital role in decision-making. The book has 12 highly interesting chapters with input from 30 authors and is divided into three parts. The authors are leading researchers in their own right. The arguments in the chapters are graphically and mathematically illustrated. The average reader could avoid some of the technical material without loss of continuity. Furthermore, extra analysis and arguments are provided in the form of commentaries in all three sections of the book. Part I focuses attention on issues relating to the optimal management of resistance to both antibiotics and pesticides. This section contains four chapters, three of which are devoted to antibiotics and one to resistance in pesticides. The first three chapters of this section deal with issues relating to the management of resistance to antibiotics. The first chapter focuses attention on the dynamics of antibiotic use and the second chapter deals with using antibiotics when resistance is renewable. The third chapter deals with the issue of treatment homogeneity for infectious diseases. The economic and epidemiological argu-

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ments raised in the three chapters relating to issues associated with antibiotic resistance are interesting. These three chapters are followed by two thought provoking commentaries. The fourth chapter deals with the issue of optimal refugee strategies for pests when pests are mobile. The commentary following highlights the need for direct collaboration between economists and biologists as this is of paramount importance. Part II deals with the impact of resistance to both antibiotics and pesticides. One chapter deals with the impact of resistance on antibiotic demand in patients with ear infections followed by a commentary on measuring the costs of resistance. The rest of the chapters (4) deal with the various economic aspects of resistance to pesticides and related issues and a lot of attention is given to transgenic crops. Very interesting and pertinent commentaries follow these chapters. Part III addresses incentives and the behavior of firms producing antibiotics and pesticides. The first chapter of this section presents an economic model, which shows the effects of market structures applied to biotechnology in agriculture. The next two chapters deal with the economics of biotechnology and industrial organization and institutional considerations in agricultural pest resistance management. The two commentaries in this section are extremely interesting. The first one asks the question ‘‘Does the monopolist care about pesticide resistance?’’ and the other examines the strategic issues involved in agricultural pest resistance management. The only query I have with the book is that there is hardly any reference to developing countries, which in a major way face the issues of resistance related to pesticides and antibiotics discussed in the book. Perhaps this omission is due to the lack of participants from these countries at the conference on the Economics of Resistance organized by Resources for the Future from which this book has evolved. Despite this omission, I strongly recommend this book. It is a ‘must read’ for all researchers and students in many fields and is bound to become a much sought after work on the subject because there is no collection to match this pioneering research. The work will no doubt inspire more research and provide a better understanding of the issues and complexities involved in the fight against combating

resistance to pesticides and antibiotics. The book has demonstrated that economics can play a major role in decision-making processes regarding the resistance of pests to pesticides and bacteria to antibiotics. Therefore, this work is not only useful for researchers and students but also to policy-makers highlighting the management options available to them in their decision-making. Clevo Wilson School of Economics, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia E-mail address: [email protected] Tel.: +61-7-3365-6645; fax: +61-7-3365-7299 doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.03.005

Stakeholder Incentives in Participatory Forest Management: A Manual for Economic Analysis Michael Richards, Jonathan Davies and Gil Yaron, ITDG Publishing, London, 2003, ISBN: 1853395595, 238 pp. Participatory Forest Management (PFM) has assumed a profound significance in national and global environmental debates in recent times. The growing interest in this field is fuelled by the realization that stakeholders play a crucial role in development interventions. Lack of participation is seen as an acute problem faced by the present day development programmes in developing countries. The success and the impact of participatory development interventions have been questioned by many researchers. In the meantime, it appears that the analytical frameworks that integrate the economic analysis into PFM are scarce in the literature. Against this background, a manual detailing of the economic principles and techniques offers readers a useful analytical guide that explores the economic incentives of PFM. The manual is comprised of nine chapters and divided into two parts: the first part (Chapters 1 and 2) deals with economic concepts for participatory forest management. The second part is comprised of seven chapters. Chapters 3 – 8 detail ‘Economic Stakeholder Analysis’ (ESA)—the analytical framework and its six stages. These chapters present the essence of the manual. The final chapter provides a summary