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Free market environmentalism

The free market and concern for the environment are compatible – indeed symbiotic.  Farmers care about their land and are amongst those most concerned about mining causing problems in our food growing areas of QLD.  The govt is the farmer’s enemy here, possibly siding with the mining companies.

Property rights give families a reason to preserve the environment because they are preserving their livelihoods . That is the most effective incentive because it is the most intimate.

Having govt control environment issues disperses responsibility through many ignorant distant hands – through power-hungry bureaucrats who believe they need to shape the world, through politicians looking to curry favour with the mining industry, through those who have no direct interest in the land itself.

Invariably those with the best knowledge and the greatest interest in local environmental issues are those with the most direct stake – the private owners of land affected by the pollution! 

Tourism is concerned for the Great Barrier Reef.  The boating and fishing industries are concerned about the quality of our waterways. 

The govt and the mining companies are the very agents to be most feared, because they have the least direct stake in the long-term viability of the local ecosystem.  Note that even though mining companies are nominally “private” corporations, they are actually in a sense govt agents, taking temporary leasing rights from the govt to mine.  These concessions from the govt to mine are for a temporary period only and therefore it is more accurate to consider mining companies as quasi-govt authorities in many cases.

Libertarians have long been concerned for the environment.  Please take the time to read this excellent piece from Murray Rothbard.

Please think carefully next time you hear a govt mouthpiece talking about “saving the environment”.  What they are invariably saying is “Give me more power.”

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