Environmentalism

Private Roads and the Economics of the Environment

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In the interest of battling automobile-created air pollution, environmentalists call for more public transportation — more buses and commuter trains and the higher taxes needed to fund them — to get people out of their cars. Granting, for the sake of discussion, that air quality is as poor as ... [click for more]

Barges and Birds, Politics and the Market

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In a move that delighted environmentalists, a U.S. district judge recently ordered the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) to lower the water level of the Missouri River in order to provide suitable nesting habitat for endangered bird species. However, the move will have detrimental effects on shipping, and the ... [click for more]

The Lake of the Woods

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Like most other Americans, this past Independence Day found me watching fireworks. I was with my family at Lake of the Woods, a private community in Orange County, Virginia, where we were all gathered along a lake’s edge with thousands of other people to watch one of the best ... [click for more]

Free-Market Environmentalism

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One of the most important lessons that economics teaches is that incentives matter. Economics is not a field that is normally associated with the environmental movement, but the recognition of the importance of incentives has led to a schism in the movement between those environmentalists who turn to the state to protect the environment and those who instead rely ... [click for more]

When the Government Owns the Environment, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 On December 19, 2002, I wrote about the Army Corps of Engineers’ practice of dumping toxic sludge into the Potomac River, in violation of the Endangered Species and Clean Water Act. I pointed out that this practice had been going on for decades before the Environmental Protection Agency decided to review the terms ... [click for more]

Free-Market Environmentalism

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One of the most important lessons that economics teaches is that incentives matter. Economics is not a field that is normally associated with the environmental movement, but the recognition of the importance of incentives has led to a schism in the movement — between those environmentalists who turn to the state ... [click for more]

Hawks and the Free Market

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Rosalie Barrow Edge should be considered a hero to libertarians and conservationists alike. In 1933, she founded Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania. At a time in our country's history when the economy was a shambles and socialism was hip, Edge managed to establish the first refuge for hawks in the world without the aid of government. In the 1920s ... [click for more]

When the Government Owns the Environment, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2  Libertarians maintain that the best way to protect the environment is to keep as much of it in private hands as possible. Without fail, this position is ridiculed by “environmentalists” as utopian and impractical. What they propose instead is a regime of strict government control over wetlands, forestlands, and waterways to ensure that the ... [click for more]

So Goes the American Dream

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The American dream once was a reality. A man was free to use his resources any way he saw fit to provide for himself and his family. Whether his resources were personal skills or material in nature, he was free to use them whichever way he wanted, as long as he did not infringe ... [click for more]

The Free Market and Hawks

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Rosalie Barrow Edge should be considered a hero to libertarians and conservationists alike. In 1933, she founded Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania. At a time in our country’s history when the economy was a shambles and socialism was hip, Edge managed to establish the first refuge for hawks in ... [click for more]

Let Spontaneity Rule

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As a conservationist and a libertarian, I always find it interesting to think how similar ecology and political economy are. Both are products of nature — self-sustaining phenomena resulting from the aggregate of millions of unrelated events. The Nobel-laureate economist Friedrich Hayek coined a term for ... [click for more]

Enron and the Cheney List

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The controversy over Vice President Dick Cheney’s secret energy-policy consultation list is amusing. Government should certainly err on the side of disclosing such things, but that’s not the point here. Those most vocal in demanding the list seem to be saying they can’t judge the Bush administration’s energy policy ... [click for more]
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