Conservation and Environmental Protection

In General

An Austrian Theory of Environmental Economics
by Roy Cordato
"Austrian economics lacks a formalized, self-conscious theory of environmental economics. But in fact all of the major elements of such a theory already exist and in that sense what is needed is to piece together the relevant aspects of Austrian economics in order to draw out and focus a theory that is already there."

Beware the Precautionary Principle
December 7, 2006
by The Social Issues Research Centre
"A new mantra is beginning to occupy pride of place in debates on all environmental issues, whether they be to do with food safety, genetic engineering or global warming – the precautionary principle. Originating in 1960s Germany as Vorsorgeprinzip (literally foresight planning) it has been increasingly seized upon by green activists and other romantics since the 1970s as an unanswerable credo – when considering technological innovation, exercise caution with regard to its potential consequences."

Closing the Green Gap of Market Liberalism
December 1994
by Karl Hess, Jr.
"Greens and market liberals can engage in the common cause of good environment and sustainable liberty if they will only take the time to appreciate and exploit the less obvious and deeper expressions of the free market paradigm. Sustaining free-ranging ecological processes may require neighbors and neighborhoods to cooperate and enter into an array of protective covenants and binding social agreements at the local level. Communities that value open spaces and untrammeled vistas may have to find new tools of self-governance to curb the tragedy of the commons that is now transforming desirable environments into exploited landscapes. Associations and cooperatives may have to be formed to protect unbounded communities of plants and animals and steward free-flowing streams of water and air."

The Commons: Tragedy or Triumph?
April 1999
by Bruce Yandle
"Human beings can and do avoid the tragedy of the commons. But doing so requires property rights and markets, which must be defended if the triumph is to continue."

Conservation and Speculation
August 1999
by Dwight R. Lee
"The speculation that results from private property and the desire for profits is the most powerful force for beneficial conservation."

Conservation, Ecology, and Growth
by Murray Rothbard
"What we need is more economic growth, not less; more and better technology, and not the impossible and absurd attempt to scrap technol­ogy and return to the primitive tribe. Improved technology and greater capital investment will lead to higher living standards for all and provide greater material comforts, as well as the leisure to pursue and enjoy the "spiritual" side of life."

Destroying the Environment
by Mary J. Ruwart
"We are more likely to protect the environment when we own a piece of it and profit by nurturing it."

Eco-Fascism
April 1995
by Russell Madden
"The violations of private property rights that have flowed from the environmental movement and its adherence to the erroneous theory of "intrinsic value" have already caused intense hardships for many people. Individuals have been prevented from developing their land as they best see fit because of claims by environmentalists that such usage would threaten an endangered species, a coastline, a wetland, or the general "character" of some landscape. The contention is that efforts to enjoy the benefits of these properties would destroy the value which that land or animal or plant supposedly possesses by its mere existence regardless of its relationship to specific human beings."

Eco-Industrial Parks: The Case for Private Planning
by Pierre Desrochers
"Would centrally planned eco-industrial parks (EIPs)—communities of businesses than recycle each other’s by-products—make industry greener and more efficient? The lessons of several private EIPs suggest that short of removing regulatory barriers to resource recovery, government planners can do little to improve upon the industrial symbiosis of the free market."

Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation edited by Walter Block
September 1990
reviewed by William H. Peterson
"The key, then, to this work lies in its subtitle, A Reconciliation. Fraser senior research fellow and editor Walter Block holds in his tone-setting contribution that ecology is really a branch of economics, even if he is willing to concede that economics just may be a branch of ecology.
The foundation of each is, or ought to be, private property rights. He accordingly says that ecological and economic costs are inseparable—two sides of the same coin. The two are intellectually indistinguishable insofar as our relations with nature are involved—but only if all costs are fully taken into account."

Economics, Ecology, and Exchange: Free Market Environmentalism
by Robert Taylor
A bibliographic essay about market solutions to environmental problems. It summarizes the major developments in the literature of free-market environmentalism up to 1992.

The Economics of Ecology: Angry Planet or Beautiful World?
September 2002
by Mark Skousen
"In sum, free-market environmentalism has come a long way in showing how to replace the regulatory fist of command with a greener invisible hand. Many free-market think tanks, such as PERC and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have challenged the supremacy of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace."

Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism Joseph L. Bast, Peter J. Hill, Richard C. Rue
March 1, 1995
reviewed by Doug Bandow
"Many good books have appeared on the environment and the environmental movement in recent years. Ronald Bailey, Michael Fumento, Lou Guzzo, and Dixy Lee Ray, among others, have produced devastating studies of environmental foolishness. Thoughtful environmentalists like Wallace Kaufman and Martin Lewis have written sharp critiques of the dishonesty and radicalism of movement activists. But if you want the one book that concisely explains both the real ecological state of the world and offers sensible, market-oriented solutions to environmental problems, it is Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism. Written by a trio of free market analysts and outdoorsmen, Eco-Sanity should provide the standard against which future environmentalist claims are measured."

The Efficient Amount of Pollution
May 2001
by Dwight R. Lee
"Our pollution problems should make all of us, especially environmentalists, appreciate the advantages of private property and market exchange, which require us to pay prices for goods and services that reflect their marginal cost. If this were the case with polluting activities, there would be no pollution problems, since pollution would be expanded only up to the efficient level, where its marginal value equals its marginal cost."

Entrepreneurship and Coastal Resource Management
by Jeffrey J. Pompe and James R. Rinehart
"In response to market incentives, private developers are protecting shorelines where traditional bureaucratic management has led to erosion and pollution. As consumer affluence and environmental knowledge increase, this trend will accelerate, especially where property owners have similar tastes and a strong system of protective covenants."

Enviro-Capitalists: Doing Good While Doing Well by Terry A. Anderson and Donald R. Leal
February 1999
reviewed by Bruce Yandle
"Enviro-Capitalists should be read both by environmentalists and friends of liberty. True environmentalists, those who seek to protect the precious biological envelopes that support life and are not simply dedicated to the replacement of individual freedom with command-and-control regulation, will be encouraged to know that markets are on their side. Friends of liberty, who sometimes find themselves hard-pressed to defend markets in the face of attacks from environmentalists, will welcome the reinforcements provided by this excellent, if too-short book."

Environment
by Dr. Mary Ruwart
The good doctor answers tough questions about environmental issues.

Environmental Colonialism: “Saving” Africa from Africans
by Robert H. Nelson
"Under the banner of saving the African environment, Africans in the last half century have been subjected to colonialism from an overlooked source: the conservation movement. Local populations have been displaced and impoverished in order to create national parks and to serve other conservation objectives, in large part because Western conservationists misunderstand African wildlife management practices and problems."

Environmental Doom and Economic Slowdown: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
October 27, 2005
by Carl P. Close and Craig S. Marxsen
"In an analysis submitted by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, economist W. Mark Crain found that in 2004 compliance with EPA regulations on average cost small manufacturers (those with fewer than 20 employees) a whopping $15,747 per worker, compared to $3,391 per worker for large manufacturers (those with 500 or more employees)—a cost difference of 364 percent!"

Environmental Economics: Invoking private property and prices to regulate land use and recycling
by Art Carden
"I consider myself an "anthropocentric environmentalist," which is a fancy way of saying that I care about environmental issues because I care about human flourishing."

Environmentalism and Economic Freedom: The Case for Private Property Rights
by Walter Block

Environmentalism as Though People and Facts Really Mattered
May 2001
by Christopher Lingle
"It is as though a new set of “environmental rights” is being imposed that clash with property rights and individual rights. If these rights are threatened, it will actually weaken the support for environmental protections. For environmentalism to thrive and serve its purposes, it should take into account that individuals really do matter."
"Economists have exerted considerable effort to examine ways in which the pricing systems can bring about desired reductions in pollution and similar problems caused by the “tragedy of the commons.” Examples of market-based mechanisms for resolving environmental problems include marketing pollution rights, privatizing wilderness areas and wildlife, and innovative techniques like “tagging” that would allow for the identification of ownership of dispersed resources or to the tracing of the sources of pollution."

Environmentalism: The Triumph of Politics
September 1993
by Doug Bandow
"We need to look for private strategies to protect the environment. Privatizing federal timber and rangeland, for instance, would end subsidized development, since no private individual or company would willingly turn a dollar investment into a few cents in revenue. Establishing full private property rights in water would help conserve this precious resource in the western United States. We need to develop equally creative solutions for such “common pool” problems as air and water pollution. In short, we need to depoliticize the environment, making the issue one of balancing competing interests rather than imposing ideological or religious dogmas. If we succeed in doing so, we will end up with not only a cleaner society, but also a wealthier and freer one."

Environmental Protection through Private Action
by Jonathan Adler
A private organization, the American Bison Association, saved the American Bison from extinction. Private stewardship conserves resources while the destruction of resources on public land is so widespread that it has a name: "the tragedy of the commons."

Environmental Terrorism
March 14, 2011
by Nathan Barton
"I have contended, for at least 20 years now, that the environist leadership's goal is to return the entire planet to a simulacrum of one of the early dynasties of Egypt, where 97% of the population were peasants or slaves, tied to their farms or cities with no education beyond that needed for them to do the work they were assigned, and never traveling more than a few miles from their birthplace; controlled by 2.5% of the population that formed a 'middle-management' class (today, a technocratic class), in turn controlled by less than 0.5% of the population that formed the high-born or nobility and royalty (including the priesthood): only they could use the technology and get the education and have the perks of being human. Destroying the economy and the middle class and working class is a key part of this process."

Environment and Conservation
by stormy MON
Brief descriptions of market options for preserving forests and wilderness, saving endangered species, and preventing pollution.

Environment and Free Trade
February 1994
by Jo Kwong
"The evidence is overwhelming that opening markets will provide both economic and environmental prosperity for all parties. It is the poverty of a closed economy, not free trade, that threatens ecological degradation around the globe."

An Environment of Freedom
September 1998
by Jo Kwong
"Those who value individual liberty and a free society have reason to keep an eye on environmental regulation. Fortunately, classical liberal principles offer a clear vision of proper environmentalism, but it’s a tough message to communicate. Nonetheless, it’s a vision of environmental freedom that entails the freedom to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment in ways that reflect human innovation and stewardship. Hopefully through this commitment, we can make a difference in the environment, while at the same time preserving freedom and all its virtues."

An Environment without Property Rights
February 1997
by Richard L. Stroup and Jane S. Shaw
"Now that the Soviet system has broken down, the environmental destruction in the Eastern bloc should be nearing its end. Simply closing down the polluting factories, many of which were wasting resources, anyway, will reduce the pollution. But how fast and how well the environment will recover crucially depends on the restoration of private property rights."

Externalities and the Environment
November 1996 "The key to environmental protection is a free market with defendable and transferable property rights."

Externalities, Conflict, and Offshore Lands: Resolution Through the Institutions of Private Property
by John Brätland
"Oil leaks and spills are the most visible externality associated with offshore development, but public policy must also take into account another type of negative externality: cost-shifting through the political process (such as when environmentalists successfully lobby to ban offshore oil drilling). Fortunately, both environmental and political externalities can be resolved through the often-neglected institution of private-property rights."

The Fine Art of Conservation
October 1998
by Bernie Jackson
"For the sake of our species and our descendants, we ought to remove our ecological resources from governmental stewardship. Let each individual seller research his market and hold out for a buyer willing to pay dearly. When selling a precious old-growth forest, leave the unregulated seller free to turn away the industrialist, the logger, and the homebuilder, who will be happy with cheaper and less remarkable tracts of land. Let him hold out for the nature lovers, environmentalists, hunters, quirky billionaires, wildlife foundations, and ecological research groups. They are uniquely qualified to conserve the land (or to hire those who are), and uniquely motivated to raise serious money for its purchase."

Free-market forces favor public good, not privilege
March 09, 1994
by John A. Baden, Ph.D. and Tim O’Brien
"People who take pro-market stands take equally strong stands against special privileges for businesses. Both justice and efficiency demand that businesses bear full responsibility for the costs their actions impose on society, including the environmental costs. Market principles favor the environment because many environmental problems arise when people are isolated from the costs of their actions. This insulation comes from favors for the politically powerful. This is why being pro-market supports the public's interests first and foremost. As environmentalists learn this distinction, I hope to see a union of pro-market and environmental forces."

Free Markets, Property Rights and Climate Change: How to Privatize Climate Policy
by Graham Dawson
"My aim in this paper is propose an authentically Austrian approach to climate change policy. Such a proposal is necessary because the dominant neoclassical framework fails to provide an adequate defence of property rights and a secure foundation of knowledge for policy."

Got Environmental Problems? Think Government.
Foreign Policy identifies true environmental catastrophes, but misses the main cause.

July 20, 2010
by Ronald Bailey
"In the case of the BP and Nigerian oil spills, the resource is owned by the government which sets up the rules for how resources are managed. The Chinese coal seam fires and the draining of the Aral Sea took place under communist regimes where private property was outlawed. In the sad case of Haiti, lack of secure property rights means that few have any incentive to reforest land. And the absence of property rights in the ocean results in it being treated as a global dump. The lesson is that establishing clear property rights encourages resource exploiters to behave responsibly. And if they don’t, property rights enable rest of us to hold resource exploiters responsible for the damage they do."

Government Versus the Environment
February 1998
by Russell Madden
"Ultimately, it is the state's violation of property rights that leads to many of the environmental ills laid at the feet of private citizens and businesses. The greatest ecological disasters in the world have occurred in those countries where property rights did not exist. (In the former Soviet Union and East Germany, for example, the devastation reached horrific heights.)"

The Green Scare
May 1999
by Roger E. Meiners
"These horror stories, the stuff of the Green Scare, have achieved the status of Official Truth. But each is grossly distorted in the service of interventionist environmentalism. Here’s yet another example of the old saying that it’s not what we don’t know that hurts us. It’s what we know that isn’t so."

The guiding principles of environmental reason
May 31, 1995
by John A. Baden, Ph.D. and Peter Baldwin
"While environmental values are important guides for behavior, I stress the importance of information, incentives and institutional design. These are the pillars of a new field of political economy, the New Resource Economics (NRE)."

The Impossibility of Harming the Environment
May 2002
by Roy E. Cordato
"Environmental problems tend to arise when people are allowed to impose costs on others by degrading other people’s property or by using property that is unowned. A property-rights-based “polluter pays principle” would go a long way toward solving many of these problems, first by seeing to it that existing property rights are enforced and by providing principled guidance for the privatization of currently unowned resources by courts and legislatures. It will be much easier for lawmakers and adjudicators of disputes to move in the right direction once the target is clearly identified."

In the Absence of Private Property Rights
July 1999
by Dwight R. Lee
"Private property allows us to solve problems by taking into consideration the present and future concerns of others. Unfortunately, people with good intentions but little economic understanding often call for solving problems stemming from inadequate private property by subverting rights to private property with political restrictions and mandates."

It's Economic Freedom That Will Save the Earth
January 11, 2010
by Terry Miller and Anthony Kim
"The compelling force of economic freedom, by contrast, has been proven over and over, in countries around the world, to empower people, create positive forces of opportunity and innovation, and nourish overall well-being, including through a cleaner environment."

The Libertarian Manifesto on Pollution
by Murray N. Rothbard
"If property rights were to be defended fully, against private and governmental invasion alike, we would find here, as in other areas of our economy and society, that private enterprise and modern technology would come to mankind not as a curse but as its salvation."

Libertarians and the Environment, Part 1 of 3: Principles Abandoned
November 15, 2010
by Lawrence M. Ludlow
"There is a particular subset of libertarians that champions anti-environmentalism, zeal for maximum fossil-fuel consumption, disregard for pollution, and worship of population growth for its own sake (and all that comes with it). At best, these libertarians merely fail to acknowledge the downside of their positions. At worst, they revel in them."

Libertarians and the Environment, Part 2 of 3: Mises Loves Malthus
November 16, 2010
by Lawrence M. Ludlow
"...we know that big-government measures cannot successfully address the issue of global warming – whether it is caused by man, is the result of solar variances, or does not exist at all. Let the market decide, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the status quo resembles a free market even faintly."

Libertarians and the Environment, Part 3 of 3: Christian Interpretations
November 17, 2010
by Lawrence M. Ludlow
"Since a literal interpretation of Genesis yields equivocal results, can Christians gain insight from another source of interpretation? For protestant believers, I cannot offer much help, but for those who appeal to Roman Catholic doctrine, there is no better source than Thomas Aquinas."

Liberty, Markets, and Environmental Values: A Hayekian Defense of Free-Market Environmentalism
by Mark Pennington
"Free-market environmentalism, which advocates private-property rights and market processes to promote environmental goals, is unlikely to make political progress unless its arguments are recast to address communitarian environmentalists on their own terms. F. A. Hayek’s insights about decentralized knowledge, spontaneous order, and the systemic nature of environmental problems provide an immensely helpful framework for this task."

Making the Polluter Pay
March 1995
by Jonathan H. Adler
"In sum, making the polluter pay should not entail trying to eliminate the generation of wastes and other by-products of a modern industrial society. Nor does it mean regulating every emission, every industrial process, indeed every aspect of economic life. It means focusing environmental protection efforts on the greatest sources of harm and ensuring that polluters pay for the costs of the harms they inflict upon others. This goal can be best accomplished through a decentralization of environmental policy and a greater reliance upon common law remedies. Central government dictates are not up to the task."

The Market and Nature
September 1993
by Fred L. Smith, Jr.
"Ecological central planning cannot protect the environment, but it can destroy our civil and economic liberties. There is too much at stake to allow the world to embark upon this course. The environment can be protected, and the world's peoples can continue to reach new heights of prosperity, but it is essential to realize that political management is not the proper approach. Rather, the leaders of the world should follow the path of the emerging nations of Eastern Europe and embrace political and economic freedom. In the final analysis, the free market is the only system of truly sustainable development."

Market-Based Environmentalism vs. the Free Market
September 1997
by Roy E. Cordato
"Market-based environmentalism and the free market are not the same. Free-market policies, even with respect to the environment, would not have “environmental protection” per se as their central focus. Instead the focus would be on resolving conflicts among human beings as they put natural resources to use. An important by-product of that would be a cleaner environment and a more conscientious stewardship of resources."

Markets, Not Mandates
April 26, 2006
by Pete Geddes
"Markets are a decentralized process of discovery. This process is much more likely to yield solutions that function under many different circumstances. Here’s how it works. High energy prices transmit important information. They spur millions of individuals into action, harnessing their unique knowledge and talents. Through trial and error, experimentation and feedback, creative ideas emerge. The best survive a process of ruthless and unsentimental testing."

Military Pollution: The Quintessential Universal Soldier
March 27, 2005
by Lucinda Marshall
"The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. The types of hazardous wastes used by the military include pesticides and defoliants like Agent Orange. It includes solvents, petroleum, perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel) lead and mercury. And most ominously, depleted uranium."

Montana’s Intellectual Entrepreneurs
March 31, 2004
by John A. Baden, Ph.D.
"Bozeman incubated the “new environmentalism.” This movement shows how economic analysis promotes environmental quality. Our ideas, radical decades ago, are now conventional."

Nature's Entrepreneurs
November 1998
by Terry L. Anderson and Don Leal
"If we were to compile a list of the vital few from the environmental history books, it might be headed with names like Audubon, Leopold, and Muir. As entrepreneurs, these men recognized the value of the natural world at a time when most people saw nature’s frontier as a wilderness to be tamed. Of these early entrepreneurs, however, only Aldo Leopold saw the importance of linking the conservation movement to entrepreneurship, with all the trappings of finance, contracting, marketing, and even profits."

No Turning Back: Dismantling the Fantasies of Environmental Thinking by Wallace Kaufman
March 1995
reviewed by Lance Lamberton
"Kaufman envisions a future where property rights are recognized, scientific principles are applied to public policy, and technological advances address the dual societal requirements of environmental stewardship and economic growth. If such a confluence of changes were to occur, it would relegate today's environmental movement to the dustbin of history. I just hope I live long enough to see it."

Owning the Unownable
March 1995
by Paul Georgia
"A survey of U.S. government policy in the last sixty years makes it painfully clear that the government's efforts have often aggravated the problems it was trying to solve. The track record of free societies and free institutions in satisfying human needs is far better than the track record of governments. Because of this, faith in the market is not blind, and relying on government, in light of its past performance, seems foolhardy."

The Perils of Energy Subsidies
January 04, 2006
by Pete Geddes
"Wind farms are enjoying a boom. Alas, their popularity has more to do with harvesting advantages in the tax code than with their environmental or energy merits. Following The Logic of Collective Action, we’re not surprised to learn these “good” subsidies annually transfer hundreds of millions of dollars from customers and taxpayers to a few large companies. Wind “farmers” reap more revenue from tax breaks and subsidies than from the sale of their product. They benefit at the expense of other taxpayers and energy consumers."

The Polluting State
July 25, 2005
by Jayant Bhandari
"But, the politicians had other motives: employment generation and spreading industry uniformly around the country without consideration for economics. And of course all this means environmental damage of horrendous proportions as I attempt to show."

The Pollution Solution
by Mary J. Ruwart
"Restoring what we have harmed is the best deterrent of all!"

Pollution Trading Permits as a Form of Market Socialism and the Search for a Real Market Solution to Environmental Pollution
by Robert W. McGee and Walter Block

Private Property Rights, Not Ideologies, Are the Crux
by Jane S. Shaw
"Colarelli is right to say that liberals have become conservatives in their desire to keep nature from changing. His critique of conservatives falls flat, however, because he fails to consider the merits of free-market environmentalism, which emphasizes the use of private-property rights and economic incentives to foster environmental protection."

Privatizing Climate Policy
December 24, 2009
by Graham Dawson
"Climate-change policy ought to be privatized. All government policy instruments, including taxes, subsidies, regulation and emissions trading to mitigate climate change ought to be abolished. Instead, property rights to a climate unchanged by human activity should be protected by tort litigation on the basis that strict liability is appropriate."

The Problem of Environmental Protection
April 2001
by Dwight R. Lee
"The only sensible way to determine whether clean air is more or less valuable than clean water is by making the comparison at the margin. If the water is extremely dirty (dysentery in every drop) and the air is extremely clean, then the marginal value of clean water (the value of an incremental increase in water quality) is greater than the marginal value of clean air (the value of an incremental increase in air quality). In this case, it is sensible to improve water quality even though the cost is reduced air quality. And the improvement in water quality should continue as long as the marginal value of clean water is greater than the marginal cost of dirtier air."

Property Rights and Natural Resource Management
by Richard Stroup and John Baden
"In this bibliographical essay we will: (1) trace the outlines of the property rights paradigm as it relates to resource management, (2) sketch the workings of resource markets when property rights are private and readily transferable, (3) explain market failure and the potential gains in efficiency from governmental intervention in resource markets, (4) show why collective control of resources can also be expected to have problems, (5) illustrate by case studies how the theoretical analysis works in practice, and (6) draw some policy conclusions."

Property Rights: The Key to Environmental Protection
by Elizabeth Brubaker
"Secure property rights provide both powerful incentives for the preservation of natural resources and effective tools to resolve differences over resource use."

Property Rights v. Environmental Ruin
August 1, 1994
by David J. Theroux
"Conventional wisdom holds that the market process necessarily involves interpersonal conflict and the degradation of the natural environment. Government, it is alleged, must step in to establish rational and cooperative uses of scares resources. However, it is only with private property and voluntary exchange that conflicts have historically and today can be resolved, giving each person the opportunity to carefully consider resource use alternatives. The future depends upon people employing their personal wealth and that of their heirs toward efficient management of resources, and only private property and free market-based institutions enable us to do so."

Prosperity Without Pollution
March 1, 1996
by John Semmens
"We can have both a growing economy and an improving environment. In fact, it seems likely that a growing economy may well provide the very means needed to improve the environment."

Resource Misallocations, Externalities, and Environmentalism: A U.S.-Canadian Analysis
by Walter Block

Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy
edited by Carl P. Close and Robert Higgs
"Re-Thinking Green exposes the myths that have contributed to failed environmental policies and proposes bold alternatives that recognize the power of incentives and the limitations of political and regulatory processes. It addresses some of the most hotly debated environmental issues and shows how entrepreneurship and property rights can be utilized to promote environmental quality and economic growth."

Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy
Edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close
March 2007
Reviewed by Michael Sanera
"Robert Higgs and Carl Close have collected 22 articles that cover the gamut of environmental issues—population, global warming, endangered species, coastal management, urban planning, air pollution, and energy. The common theme is the explanation of how the good intentions of environmental groups, policy makers, and bureaucracies fail to produce improvements in the environment."

Risk and the Environment: Facts vs. Phantoms
March 12, 2003
by Pete Geddes
"We're rightly concerned about the potential harm, both to us and the environment, from the products of our technologically advanced society. But people often perceive risks to be far greater than they really are. I have many friends who, in an effort to avoid trace amounts of synthetic chemicals found on "regular" produce, eat only organic. Yet they rock climb, kayak, and ski the backcountry. These activities are far riskier than consuming chemical residues on food."

The Risk of Excessive Caution
March 19, 2003
by John C. Downen
"The risk from not reducing emissions of such gases is that we may increase global warming, which will certainly have some adverse effects. But the risk to imposing restrictions on the output of these gases is that the cost of compliance will surely slow economic progress. This would be particularly damaging to the poor of the Third World. Even if restrictions on GHGs are imposed only on wealthy countries, the resulting decrease in economic growth will harm poor countries, which often rely on developed nations to buy their exports."

Robert J. Smith on the History of Environmentalism
by Robert J. Smith
Robert J. Smith, director of the Center for Private Conservation, explains in this short video how the modern environmentalist movement began in America. A celebrated author and environmental historian, Smith shows how the anti-war movement of the late 1960s evolved into an anti-capitalism movement that pushed for government control of the environment."

Rockwell's Anti-Environmentalist Manifesto
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"Today we face an ideology every bit as pitiless and messianic as Marxism. And like socialism a hundred years ago, it holds the moral high ground. Not as the brotherhood of man, since we live in post-Christian times, but as the brotherhood of bugs. Like socialism, environmentalism combines an atheistic religion with virulent statism. But it ups the ante. Marxism at least professed a concern with human beings; environmentalism harks back to a godless, manless, and mindless Garden of Eden."

Save the Environment, and Get Rich
by David R. Henderson
A review of Natural Capitalisn by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins.

Saving the Environment for a Profit, Victorian-Style
May 2003
by Pierre Desrochers
"Pollution might have seemed an acceptable price to pay for such progress, but a surprisingly large number of Victorians thought it reasonable to expect both a higher standard of living and improved environmental amenities, if some trends that they witnessed in their day continued in years and decades ahead. First among these were the tremendous successes of entrepreneurs and technologists in creating valuable byproducts from industrial waste."

Saving the Environment from Political Destruction
by Harry Browne
"The answer to environmental problems isn't to expand the reach of government, but to shrink it. No problems will be solved by the people who gave us the U.S. Postal Service and the Savings & Loan crisis."

The State of Humanity Edited by Julian L. Simon
reviewed by Walter Block
October 1996
"If you are concerned with improving the livability of the planet, buy this book! Mass purchases, true, will mean the death of many trees. But this will just raise the price of pulp, calling forth yet additional supplies. With The State of Humanity at hand, you will have the facts of the environmental debate at your command—just about all of them."

Statism Is Safer for the Environment?
May 8, 2010
by Karen Kwiatkowski and Walter Block
"Americans who adore the government and attribute to it a higher morality and a greater appreciation for environmental purity should attempt to understand how things really work. The Chinese, those former residents of the Soviet sphere, and sufferers of socialist kleptocracies around the world all understand the reality of the state and the environment. They may not be as erudite as Conason or as "enlightened" as Obama, but they can recognize statist compost when it is dumped in their backyards, frontyards, and pumped ruthlessly into their air and water."

The Strip Miner as Hero
by Walter Block

Sustainability: An Assault on Economics
December 4, 2009
by Tyler A. Watts
"The idea of imposed or centrally planned sustainability will crumble under the realization that the spontaneous order wrought by the invisible hand of the free-market price system is amazingly sustainable in and of itself."

Take Back the Environment
August 1987
by Jorge Amador
"Despite its reputation, government’s record on environmental protection is at best mixed. Antipollution legislation has encouraged pollution in the name of abating it. Governments at all levels are among the worst defilers of the environment. Government is itself one of the major obstacles to solving the problem of pollution."

Taking the Greens Seriously: A Libertarian Response to Environmentalism
by Chris Cooper

The Talking Cure for the Tragedy of the Commons
June 8, 2010
by Ronald Bailey
"Bad things happen when governments keep people from cutting their own deals on resource management."

The Toxicity of Environmentalism
September 1992
by George Reisman
"Clearly, the most urgent task confronting the Western world, and the new intellectuals who must lead it, is a philosophical and intellectual cleanup. Without it, Western civilization simply cannot survive. It will be killed by the poison of environmentalism."

True Ecology
May 2001
by Daniel Hager
"Animists are repressed from progress by their fear-driven passivity to nature, an avoidance of tampering with it lest the spirits that inhabit natural objects unleash their fury. A variant of this primitivism is a current environmentalist mantra ascribed, spuriously, to an obscure leader of a mid-1800s band of Puget Sound Indians named Seattle: “This we know: The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.” That statement is a formula for a level of poverty and squalor under which no modern-day environmentalist would care to exist."

The Unsustainable Politics of Natural Capitalism
June 2003
by Pierre Desrochers
"While sustainable-development theorists typically indict market processes for their alleged failure to create wealth out of industrial waste, much evidence indicates that most of today’s “unsustainable practices” were actually brought about through the political process by well-established producers against more innovative new competitors. Because innovative business behavior subverted the status quo, defenders of the status quo soon subverted elected officials, which often led to the adoption of counterproductive measures and environmental harm."

Wasting Energy on Energy Efficiency
April 1999
by Ben Lieberman
"Federally mandated energy efficiency has been touted as a real win/win policy for consumers—we save on energy and enjoy the societal benefits from a national decline in energy use. In reality, it has been lose/lose—we must endure the negative effects of Washington’s preoccupation with energy conservation while the overall policy proves pointless."

Why Socialism Causes Pollution
March 1992
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
"Under communal property ownership, where no one owns or is responsible for a natural resource, the inclination is for each individual to abuse or deplete the resource before someone else does. Common examples of this "tragedy" are how people litter public streets and parks much more than their own yards; private housing is much better maintained than public lands but maintain lush pastures on their own property; the national forests are carelessly over-logged, but private forests are carefully managed and reforested by lumber companies with "super trees"; and game fish are habitually overfished in public waterways but thrive in private lakes and streams. The tragedy of the commons is a lesson for those who believe that further nationalization and governmental control of natural resources is a solution to our environmental problems."

Why the Precautionary Principle is Wrong Part 1
December 21, 2006
Part 2
December 23, 2006
by Neil Lock
"And isn't the precautionary principle itself a source of risk? Are we sure there would never be harmful effects from its application? One thinks of the human lives lost to malaria through the banning of DDT. And can we be sure that it would never cause us to miss out on benefits in the future? One thinks of drugs like aspirin, and wonders whether, if discovered today, such drugs would be approved for use."

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This page was last updated on April 21, 2012.