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Friday, October 31, 2014

 

Property Rights and Environmentalism

     The discussion today and the readings this week made me think about how influential property rights and private ownership are on environmentalism and the environment itself. While I wouldn't categorize myself as a tree-hugger, I definitely do care and find it important. It was for this reason that I found the idea of private ownership an important one when it came to protecting the environment. The idea that there's a personal responsibility towards preserving the land or species or whatever it may be was profound.
     With private ownership, there's that obvious incentive to maintain and care for what you've got. It only makes sense. If you've got a piece of land you're developing or using, it would only be best to use it to its full potential and do your best not to spoil the land if you're to sell it. No one wants their property in whatever form it may be to lose value, so they'll care for it rather than if it's just there like the example of the grasslands in the Rothbard reading.
     My next reason is not necessarily tied directly to property rights but as to why the power should be taken away from the government when it comes to pollution. There's no incentive for politicians to investigate pollution or certain cases. In what way could it benefit them? There are no repercussions for them just kind of paying as little mind as possible unless it becomes an issue of personal responsibility. There's also this typical tact of taking the stance against polluters to drum up votes, but usually it doesn't go beyond that nor is there any further educating on the subject itself.
      Another reason for having private ownership on land or animals is the fact that it can fall into the hands Audobon Society and Natural Conservancy. The readings this week were great in capturing the importance of preservation societies. It explored the idea that if land went unclaimed, it suddenly became untouchable. The example of ANWR was good at exposing a kind of hypocrisy of these preservationists. If there's no mutual benefit, then it shouldn't be done at all. But if the land were owned by an entity like the Audobon Society and there could be some kind of agreement to reap the benefits of both the natural form of the area as well as the resources that could lie beneath.
      In conclusion, this was only brief, but this is something that captured my attention in a great way. I think private ownership and the idea of property rights is something that fits well with environmentalism and that's something I'd never even thought of. There's all the incentive in the world when you've got to care for something that's yours.

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