Mises Wire

Home | Wire | Why Does Socialism Cause Pollution?

Why Does Socialism Cause Pollution?


Tags The EnvironmentPrivate Property


15 years ago Thomas DiLorenzo penned a concise piece detailing severals reasons and examples as to why socialism was not only unable to prevent pollution, but how it is the prime culprit in many cases.

The latest edition of the Top 10 "World's Worst Polluted Places" was released this past week. And unsurprisingly all ten are in regions of the world where property rights are either non-existent or not respected.

This is not to say that private firms would never or have never polluted, but rather, it illustrates the abuse land can take in the absence of incentives and accountability. Arguably, if the land had been owned by private companies capable of suing for restitution or damages, the dumping/toxifying would probably never have occurred in the first place.

In addition, for-profit companies have an incentive not to destroy or pollute their own land. For instance, deforestation would never occur on a privately owned plantation — in order to stay solvent, the owner has the inherent incentive to perpetually replant and nurture the inventory (i.e., you can't sell it if you don't have any of it). In other words, businesses must satisfy consumer demand to stave off bankruptcy; governments do not.

Banning government ownership of land is unfortunately not a solution currently listed by the institute responsible for the top 10 list. Next year perhaps. 

Sean Corrigan is the author of 'Money, Macro & Markets' newsletter & Consultant to Hinde Capital.

Add Comment

Shield icon wire