The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 7

As we have seen, the goal of the commons movement is the obliteration of private property. The movement holds that the creation of values is not an individual achievement, but the result of collective effort. The movement holds that what is created by the collective should be controlled by the collective. While this may seem […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 6

In most instances, establishing property rights to a resource is fairly straightforward. If an individual turns a barren field into a lush farm, or extracts ore from the ground, or plants an orchard, most people would recognize his right to that property. But what of more complex situations, such as air and water?

In some […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 5

With no exceptions that I have discovered, commoners dismiss the idea of privatizing the commons. For example, Elinor Ostrom notes that in regard to fisheries “the establishment of individual property rights is virtually out of the question” (Govering the Commons, page 13). She cites a report by the Canadian government that states that “the establishment […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 4

According to today’s commons movement, the commons includes much more than resources such as air and water. For example, the website for On the Commons, an organization dedicated to the commons movement, states that the commons is “a social system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity.”

This is […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 3

In the 1980s, a school of thought emerged that challenged Garrett Hardin’s alternatives of privatization or regulation. This school was a revival of a movement from the Progressive Era, called Institutionalism, that studied how individuals interact to achieve their own “highest utility”—their self-interest—in utilizing the commons. Today, advocates of this school call themselves the New […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 2

When the American West was first settled, the vast prairies were shared by ranchers in what was known as the open prairie system. The absence of trees and similar materials made it expensive to build fences, and the scarcity of water made it necessary for livestock to graze over a large area. The open prairie […]

The Tragedy is “the Commons,” Part 1

The political Left is comprised of many different movements, many of which are dedicated to a particular issue or cause. For example, feminists clamor for “women’s rights.” Environmentalists seek to “protect” nature from human encroachment. Unions seek to expand their power and influence. While each of these movements has a different focus, they agree on […]

The Dishonesty of Statists

Statists aren’t known for their intellectual honesty, but on occasion they exercise such intellectual gymnastics that even Simone Biles would be impressed. A recent example comes courtesy of the Chronicle’s “Gray Matters,” a column that supposedly has the purpose of making us think about important issues.

The article is titled “Houston sidewalks aren’t improving fast […]

Planning Leads to Land-use Regulations

Joe Webb, chairman of Blueprint Houston, an organization that helped draft the city’s General Plan, recently repeated the statist mantra that planning isn’t the same as zoning. At the same time, he noted that the plan will help the city control development and make neighborhoods better.

Technically, Webb is correct. Planning is a process of […]

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Statists often like to present their policies and programs as a free market solution. Emission trading, which Wikipedia calls a “market-based approach to controlling pollution,” is one example. Carbon emission trading assigns “property rights” to emissions, which allow the holder to emit a set quantity of a particular substance. Those who emit less of that […]