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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Environment

Wise Use Agenda


Public Lands for People logoThose attending the Wise Use inaugural 1988 conference approved the movement’s manifesto, The Wise Use Agenda. It has been described as “a wish list for the resource extraction industries” and many of its 25 goals are about guaranteeing access for mining and forestry on public lands. For example they include “Immediate wise development of the petroleum resources of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska” and the opening of “all public lands including wilderness and national parks” for mineral and energy production.


Some of the Wise Use goals are aimed at changing definitions and common understandings in order to weaken environmental legislation and allow further development, timber cutting and resource extraction. For example they call for a Global Warming Prevention Act that would replace old growth forests with plantations or in their words: ”convert all decaying and oxygen-using forest growth protesterson the National Forests into young stands of oxygen-producing carbon dioxide-absorbing trees to help ameliorate the rate of global warming and prevent the greenhouse effect...” They also propose that the Endangered Species Act be amended so that some endangered species are reclassified as “relict species in decline before the appearance of man, including non-adaptive species such as the California Condor” and others be classified as “endemic species lacking the biological vigor to spread in range.”

Other goals are aimed at preventing or deterring environmentalists from taking legal action that might lead to restrictions on resource extraction and other activities. These and other goals in the Wise Use Agenda are aimed at protecting property rights, opening up wilderness areas to commercial development and motorised recreational use, and highlighting the economic costs of regulatory activity.

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See also: Philosophy | Myths