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View Diary: The Tragedy of Private Ownership (84 comments)

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  •  This is a really weird way of interpreting... (2+ / 0-)
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    Elasg, James Allen

    ... the tragedy of the commons.  

    As applied to environmental issues, the tragedy of the commons makes a very strong case for regulation of negative externalities.  Even if private property creates an adequate incentive not to destroy the property -- which, as you note, is already a dubious claim --  it creates no such incentive with respect to minimizing air pollution, toxic runoff, loss of biodiversity, etc.  The lines defining a parcel of land do nothing to divide the commonses of air, water, groundwater, biota, climate, etc., etc.  The consequent behavior with respect to these commonses -- in the absence of regulation -- is exactly what the tragedy of the commons would have predicted.

    So private property might be a sufficient incentive for responsible stewardship, in theory, if the system of property (or liability) were defined in such a way that there would be no such thing as negative externalities, or if each plot of land were actually a self-contained bubble.  But in an interconnected world, that's simply impossible.   AFAICS, T of the C can only have the effect your interlocutor imagines on some sort of Randian fantasy planet.

    May I also say, I'm completely mystified by the anti-T-of-the-C comments here, but I'm going to guess that the glibertarian abuse of this concept is fairly widespread and people are basing their judgment on that abuse rather than the concept itself.  (It still seems odd to me, since environmentalists are the only ones I've ever heard citing Hardin, but then I spend as little time engaging with glibertarianism (er, sorry, "anarcho-capitalism") as possible.)

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