Friday, October 18, 2013

Privatize the oceans? Absolutely!

It's called the "Tragedy of the Commons" and it refers to the fact that common areas -- land, oceans, air, in this instance fish, etc. -- are often devoid of property rights protections.  When this is the case, everyone uses them and no one replishes them.  Ultimately, of course, the resource is depleted.  Such is the case of fish in the ocean -- nobody owns them, so everyone is free to take as much as they want (essentially), thus resulting in dwindling supplies.  But there is a solution -- assign ownership to the fish and the owners will work like crazy to save and maintain their property.  It's been done (and being done) with lions and elephants in Africa, and with fish in other parts of the world.  It's the power of property to incentivize people to develop, maintain, and protect their property.  No property rights == no such incentives.  And, hopefully, it seems that marine biologists and like-minded folk are starting to understand [ht: instapundit]:
If you can't beat them, join them. Leading marine biologists have joined a call to partly privatise the oceans' beleaguered biology, in the interests of effective conservation. The kill-or-cure message comes from a "blue-ribbon panel" set up by the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans, which aims to come up with effective ways of financing ocean protection.
It's an interesting article, and can be found here.