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economics or politics? -Reply

The decision to restrict use of a chemical agent, like methyl bromide, boils
down to a political one now because the economic system does not
completely capture the full costs of use of methyl bromide.   By the same
token, the price of gasoline or diesel fuel does not reflect the full social
cost of the use of these products.   In cases like these, relying on private
economic decisions to determine who uses what and where often
results in undesirable outcomes.    This is where the only recourse left to
those bearing the externalities (or just concerned about them) is to lobby
for action at the political level.    This lobbying is usually vigourously
resisted by the vested interests in the status quo (whether it be against
banning a chemical or adding a tax to make its price better reflect the true
social cost of using it).   Finally, I regretfully admit that economists dealing
with activities/amenities for which there is no established market (or
where the market is seriously flawed) (eg resource or environmental
economists) can not give a precise answer to the question of full social
cost; they keep chipping away at it, but still have a long way to go.   The
problem is complicated by profound uncertainty about the costs of things
that might or might not happen in the future -- for example, increased
cancer rates, global warming, escaping genes, ecological collapse, fossil
fuel exhaustion, etc.  There is a cost associated with inaction, but a cost
associated with action, too.
Does that help, or just muddy the waters, or maybe it states the obvious?