Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1992

Abstract

This symposium is about the idea of "free market environmentalism" in general and the book Free Market Environmentalism, by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal,1 in particular. While I focus chiefly on Anderson and Leal's book, the discussion will necessarily involve the general idea of free market environmentalism as well. The conceit of my tide, which obviously derives from Garrett Hardin's celebrated essay on The Tragedy of the Commons,2 is this: Superficial differences aside, Hardin's essay and Anderson and Leal's book address the same fundamental problem of coordinating human behavior as it affects environmental quality. But both the essay and the book attack their shared concern with the same troubling kind of argument. Aiming to resolve the problem of coordination, the authors proceed instead to assume it away. As we shall see, this flaw is perhaps more apparent, and excusable, in Hardin's essay than it is in Anderson and Leal's book, but it can be found in the book nonetheless-as can a few other difficulties.


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