One of the difficulties for a Libertarian is resolving our distrust of regulations and regulatory agencies with good stewardship of our environment. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about the environment just like everyone else, we do. The photograph to the right is a promotional display for the very first Earth Day Teach In at Nicholls University in Thibodaux, LA, forty years ago today. I was the organizer, and I glued the cans on that display. We thought the world was on the brink of destruction then too. Then it was the Population Explosion and Chlorinated Hydrocarbon pesticides. It was the year after the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. For those who are young, and only know the last 20 years, it is hard to imagine how bad it was then or to see how much progress has been made. Yet we are told the sky is still falling and only government can save us.
In general, Libertarians believe that voluntary transactions between individuals are best managed by the marketplace acting in accordance with the basic laws of economics. But when dealing with issues of the environment, there are two areas where market economics fail to adequately address problems. These are the economic paradoxes of External Costs and the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ but we must find ways to resolve these issues without destroying our Liberty. Read the rest of this entry »