CCS just completed Terracotta Summit 2005 with a release of Terracotta Redear book by Dr R K Pachauri (Chairman, IPCC) and detailed discussion on community stewardship of forest and fishery resources. Today my old Austrian friend Roy Cordato has offered An Austrian Theory of Environmental Economics. Roy’s policy prescription is very similar to the Terracotta approach of property rights, his analysis of what constitutes ‘an environmental problem’ is rather different and challenging.

“Environmental problems are not really problems for or with the environment, but human problems of mutual plan formulation and the achievement of goals. From an Austrian perspective, Robinson Crusoe cannot be a polluter.” Yes, read again!

The property rights could be of three types: individual, community, and collective (details in the Briefing Paper here). It would be very pertinent to apply Roy’s analysis to the three types of property rights to see whether and how the nature of the resource suggests praxeologically appropriate type of property right. Tremendous food for thought, Roy!

Read more about environmental problems:

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.

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Parth Shah

Parth J Shah is founder president of Centre for Civil Society, a think tank that promotes choice and accountability across public and private sectors. He is co-founder and Director of Indian School of Public Policy. Parth’s research and advocacy work focuses on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach to the environment and new public governance. He recently edited Liberalism in India.