Ivan Valiela and Sophia E. Fox criticize Barbier et al.'s "premise that an ecological function can be converted into a currency directly equivalent to money" because
by putting a price on a natural environment, we put it up for sale--and the monetary value of natural services will seldom reach the value accrued by conversion to industrial or commercial use. For instance, some years ago there was a proposal to build an industrial plant on a wetland parcel in the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey. As a counterpoint to the proposal for construction, decision-makers asked for a valuation of the wetland, which came to about $9000 per acre, per year, in perpetuity. The builders offered $200,000 per acre and showed that the added jobs, taxes, etc., would by far exceed wetland "proceeds" in the short and long term. Today a refinery stands on the site.They are effectively arguing that we must not calculate the possible values of a parcel and wish that "decision-makers" will opt for its less valuable use.