The dire water issue in California had me thinking a lot about property rights and pollution and how we approach it. One of the primary reasons people hate capitalism is due to pollution (asbestos, tetraethyllead gasoline, coal emissions, chemical dumping, the list goes on). But economists say the government is simply providing no incentive to manage those resources properly except to penalize those who mess them up. What do you think?
“With a General Motors owning the Mississippi River, you can be sure that stiff effluent charges would be assessed on industries and municipalities along its banks, and that the water would be kept clean enough to maximize revenues from leases granted to firms seeking rights to drinking water, recreation, and commercial fishing.”