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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Greenpeace: Fuck mankind, save the fish!

Life beneath the sea will end as a result of overfishing and pollution - ceteris paribus - within fifty years. That's what a bunch of economists and ecologists concluded in Science magazine.
One of the problems is overfishing, a result of a scenario known as "Tragedy of the Commons". There's a solution to this - private ownership of means of production, that is the ocean, the fish and the risks. The government could spend its time and money patrolling the seas, overseeing that property rights are not being violated. Greed is not the problem here - it's the way society allows greed to come out. It's about the rules of the game.
Private ownership leads to preservation. Anyone who owns anything knows this. When you own a piece of fertile land you're driven to preserve it so that you can keep benefiting from it or to be able to sell it at a good price when the time comes. Of course, not all people are rational and not all people aim for long-term profits but most rational humans do and that's enough.
A step toward property rights and markets has improved the overfishing situation in countries like Iceland and New Zealand. The solution comes in the form of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), a system where you're granted a specific quota by the government. You can then play with your quota the way you want, even sell it or buy more from those who own ITQs. Hopefully, this practice gains more popularity and helps introducing further liberalisations.

More here, here, here, here, here and here.

The bottom line? Let George Bush do the talking: "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

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