So George has found an argument which he thinks is terribly persuasive. Libertarians, right wing loons generally, face a horrible problem because they believe in property rights.
The problem being that pollution affects property so therefore libertarians should be very much against pollution because of property rights but they\’re not. In fact, they go all denialist over pollution precisely because they can\’t bear to be confronted with the conflict between pollution and property rights.
Well, yes. Perhaps. Good enough for a bit of GCSE reasoning I suppose.
It does however betray a certain lack of knowledge about libertarianism, right wing loons generally and even such trivial matters as economics.
For, you see, exactly this argument, this point, has been made before. That there is indeed a conflict between property rights and pollution and so whadda we gonna do about it?
A point made in The Problem of Social Cost published in 1960. The answer being, to keep it short, that where transactions costs are low then private property rights will solve pollution problems and where they are high then regulation is needed.
So it isn\’t that this conundrum is a new one for libertarians and right wing loons generally. It\’s one that has been raised, assessed and answered: answered sufficiently that the man who raised, considered and answered the point was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1991.
Jeez, if you\’re going to wibble about pollution and property rights you really ought to be aware of the seminal work on the point, no? And it\’s not as if the UK has so many Economics Laureates that you could overlook Ronald Coase, is it?