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How does one evaluate the important public values and impacts of things that do not have a market price and then integrate them into the fabric of our system of social governance? That question lies within most or all of Joseph Sax's work over the years. The first part of this article represents an attempt to distill some of Joseph Sax's intellectual dimensions, beyond those already chronicled in the comments of other contributors to this symposium, with some linked themes and observations drawn from Sax beyond his writings. The second part, instigated by several of Sax's articles, presents "The Three Economies," a theoretical construct for understanding the interplay between the marketplace, nature, and the overarching public interest. As a new way to frame the classic elements of a long-running debate, the three economies construct suggests how nonmarket values and costs should be integrated into the political life of a society and be reflected in competent economic analysis. Built on well known concepts of environmental economics, the three economies proposition may help clarify ongoing analysis of what environmental law means, both for now and for the sustainable future.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
7 Sep 2022
1.3 MB



  • Subject
    • Business Organizations Law

    • Economics

    • Environmental Law

    • Law and Economics

    • Law and Society

  • Journal title
    • Ecology Law Quarterly

  • Volume
    • 25

  • Pagination
    • 411-438

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022

  • Keywords