July 29, 2006

Four ways to improve the environment

Jason D Scorse has an interesting series of posts in Gristmill. In his first post he makes four recommendations for improving the environment - eliminate all natural-resource subsidies, expand property rights in areas where they are weak or non-existent, empower society with information, and enlarge green markets through government purchases. The latter two points involve the active participation of governments and I am afraid would in pratice be so badly implemented that they would harm the environment. I completely agree with the first two proposals and I applaud the rational outlook of Scorse in this and his other posts (by the way, he also posts at Environmental Economics as J.S.).

These are my four ways to improve the environment, using words I wrote before reading Scorse's post:

1. Eliminate all government subsidies to agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, transportation, and power generation.

2. Increase the strength and extent of private property rights, especially of wild lands, rivers and sea waters.

3. Eliminate artificial barriers to trade and immigration.

4. Eliminate public policies that favor urban and rural sprawl.


  1. Migration with no barriers probably looks more attractive is you are from a large nation. Russians or Arabs would have a different perspective from Estonians or Jewish Israelis.

  2. I tend to agree with you. Government purchases are another form of subsidy. I noticed Grist has been removed from your blog roll.

  3. I have put Gristmill back in my blogroll, but I don't know for how long. I notice my blog is not in Gristmill's blogroll. ;)

    Lars, smaller nations are also proportionately less attractive to immigrants.

  4. I knew you were going to say that.
    Don't give up on us!

  5. "2. Increase the strength and extent of private property rights, especially of wild lands, rivers and sea waters."

    That means: allow the decapitation of private soils, the clearcutting of private old-growth forests, &c. You have that frame already in many countries of the 3rd world. With remarkable social, economic and ecological results, one might say.