Economics 101

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6. Conservation and Property Rights

Economics 101

Tags Legal SystemPolitical TheoryPrivate Property

03/01/2004Murray N. Rothbard

Free markets shift resources from where they are less valued to where they are most valued, benefiting consumers. When private property and free markets are allowed to operate, a natural conservation of resources occurs. Nothing is a resource unless it is useful to man.

Governments do not own anything and are not interested in preservation or maintenance. The conservation movement since 1900 simply closed off land. Western railroads and Western real estate owners financed the conservationists in order to keep land off the market.

Oceans have yet to adopt private property rights, but it will be needed to end ocean communism which depletes fisheries.

The law of capture produced such over drilling and depletion in oil. Radio and TV channels have to find a technological unit like bandwidth or frequency to define private property. Hoover nationalized the radio channels. This totalitarian control over media by the FCC is fascist, but not protested. It has a chilling effect on speech.

Pollution beyond the optimum takes place because of government intervention of resources. Proper pricing systems and private property can eliminate pollution.  Rothbard speaks about air and water pollution and the legal changes like tort law which systematically changed common law structure. Private property needs once again to be allowed to function.

The sixth of eight sessions from Murray Rothbard's Economics 101 series.


Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.