AT Property Rights CP
1. Perm, do the counter-plan. The PP doesn’t necessitate top-down regulation.
2. Private property rights can’t solve the environment. The profit motive will remain the root cause of environmental damage.
Beder 1 writes1
By accepting market instruments as a solution to environmental problems, environmentalists have accepted the conservative definition of the problem-that environmental degradation is caused by a failure to ‘value’ the environment and a lack of properly defined property rights and therefore environmental degradation results from a failure of the market to attach a price to environmental goods and services [Beder:1996]. By allowing this redefinition of the environmental problem, environmentalists and others not only forestall criticism of the market system but in fact implicitly agree that an extension of markets is the only way to solve the problem. The root of the environmental problem, however, is the priority given to economic considerations over environmental considerations. Economic instruments, privatisation and environmental ‘valuation’ ensure that priority is still given to economic goals and they enable firms to make decisions that affect others on the basis of their own economic interests. Even if those economic interests have been slightly modified to give a small economic value to environmental impacts, the basic paradigm remains unchanged: whenever big profits can be made the environment will be destroyed.
3. Perm, do both.
Property rights alone can’t solve the environment. Only my evidence directly tests this.
Gilmour et al 12 writes2
This study does not question the potential benefits of defining clear and limited access rights to natural resources. Indeed, in line with previous work in these fisheries (Gilmour et al. 2011) and other natural resources (Berkes et al. 1989, Ostrom 1990, Acheson 2006b, Townsend et al. 2008), the limited and well-defined nature of the resource using groups is likely to have been critical in enabling cooperation and stewardship. Rather, we cast doubt on the inferred, often taken for granted link between private ownership, in the form of ITQs, and stewardship. This is the first study to directly test the veracity of this assumption. Our data show that nonrights-owners actually propose more conservative catch levels than do rights-owners. This indicates that private rights are less important than commonly suggested, or may even entail a range of disincentives to sustainability. These are important caveats given recent, high profile reports heralding private rights as the solution to overfishing (Costello et al. 2008, Heal and Schlenker 2008). The social and environmental drawbacks to such rights (Sumaila 2010) suggest that alternative arrangements, perhaps grounded in communal (Wingard 2000) or limited-tenure systems (Bromley 2005, Costello and Kaffine 2008), should be considered in more detail. Our results also emphasize the complexity of resource users’ behavior. Financial incentives may be important, but are not necessarily straightforward; the differing incentives facing active resource harvesters, versus resource owners not involved in harvesting, warrants further attention in this regard. Nonfinancial incentives, such as the “drudgery” of work (Durrenberger 1997:162), are important too. Moreover, the very nature of incentives is shaped by an interaction between subjective perceptions, such as those of resource condition, and underlying attitudes and values (Gelcich et al. 2005, Sorice et al. 2011). The problem is that, despite their importance, the effects of these nonstructural factors are poorly understood, particularly in comparison to simplified models of profit-maximizing behavior. This problem reflects broader issues in conservation and natural resource policy, i.e., the use and extension of simple behavioral models to complex systems (McCay and Jentoft 1998). “Good story lines are easily applied to many situations with the risk of misrepresenting the more complex and shifting social, cultural, and ecological relationships and processes at stake” (McCay and Jentoft 1998:23). The fallacy, perhaps, is that while having a vested interest in a resource may encourage sustainable behavior, this does not mean that those with the greatest vested interest will necessarily favor the most sustainable management options. As Caddy and Seijo (2005:72) suggest, “enlightened self-interest” alone is not enough and should be seen in the context of broader incentives and ethical considerations. The complex and often nonlinear characteristics of these social-ecological systems calls for more holistic and integrated research across disciplines to better understand the underlying mechanisms and processes. This is critical for implementing policies that address the related ecological, economic, and social dimensions of these systems.
4. Market-based solutions to the environment cause extinction.
Zizek 8 writes3
(1) Ecology: in spite of the infinite adaptability of capitalism which, in the case of an acute ecological catastrophe or crisis, can easily turn ecology into a new field of capitalist investment and competition, the very nature of the risk involved fundamentally precludes a market solution. Why? Capitalism only works in precise social conditions: it implies trust in the objectified/“reified” mechanism of the market’s “invisible hand” which, as a kind of Cunning of Reason, guarantees that the competition of individual egotisms works for the common good. However, we are in the midst of a radical change. Till now, historical Substance played its role as the medium and foundation of all subjective interventions: whatever social and political subjects did, it was mediated and ultimately dominated—overdetermined—by the historical Substance. What looms on the horizon today is the unheard-of possibility that a subjective intervention will intervene directly into the historical Substance, catastrophically disturbing its run by triggering an ecological catastrophe, a fateful biogenetic mutation, a nuclear or similar militarysocial catastrophe, etc. No longer can we rely on the safeguarding role of the limited scope of our acts: it no longer holds that, whatever we do, history will go on. For the first time in human history, the act of a single socio-political agent effectively can alter and even interrupt the global historical process, so that, ironically, it is only today that we can say that the historical process should effectively be conceived “not only as Substance, but also as Subject.” This is why, when confronted with singular catastrophic prospects (say, a political group that intends to attack its enemy with nuclear or biological weapons), we no longer can rely on the standard logic of the “Cunning of Reason” which, precisely, presupposes the primacy of the historical Substance over acting subjects: we no longer can adopt the stance of “let the enemy who threatens us deploy its potentials and thereby self-destruct”—the price for letting the historical Reason do its work is too high since, in the meantime, we may all perish along with the enemy.
5. Neg authors are biased. Free market environmentalism is pushed for by corporate-funded think tanks.
Beder 1 writes4
Corporate-funded think tanks have played a central role in promoting free market environmentalism onto the policy agenda throughout the English speaking world. These think tanks have consistently opposed government regulation and advocated the virtues of a ‘free’ market unconstrained by a burden of red tape. The role of think tanks in the establishment of this ‘neoliberal’ agenda in the US and the UK in recent decades has been well documented.2 However their central role in a range of specific policy areas, such as environmental policy, has been neglected. Conservative think tanks are generally set up as private, tax-exempt, research and advocacy institutes, and are largely funded by foundations and corporations. They have sought to insert neoliberal ideology into environmental policy. They advocate the use of the market to allocate scarce environmental resources such as wilderness and clean air and promote the replacement of legislation with voluntary industry agreements, reinforced or newly created property rights and economic instruments. Presidents from Carter through to Clinton have made wide use of think tank personnel to fill high level government positions [Abelson:1995 108-09; Smith:1991 206-07]. Think tanks also employ ex-government officials giving them access to politicians and others in government. The interchange of personnel between think tanks and government officials observed in the US is now a feature of the Australian scene. In Britain a few conservative think tanks have been extremely influential. These think tanks, particularly the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), played a major role in setting the policy agenda of the Thatcher government, providing it with most of its policy initiatives, including trade union ‘reforms,’ privatisation of public authorities such as water and electricity, and welfare cuts.3 The influence of think tanks continues with the Blair government. To be effective, think tanks insert themselves into the networks of people who are influential in particular areas of policy. They organise conferences, seminars and workshops, publish books, briefing papers, journals and media releases for policymakers, journalists and people able to sway the policy makers. They liase with bureaucrats, consultants, interest groups, lobbyists and others. They seek to provide advice directly to government officials and to government agencies and committees, through consultancies or through testimony at hearings. Ultimately think tank employees become policy-makers themselves, having established their credentials as a vital part of the relevant policy/issue network. 2 In their efforts to influence and become part of the policy-making process think tanks have more in common with interest groups or pressure groups than academic institutions. Nevertheless employees of think tanks are treated by the media as independent experts and, as such, are often preferred to representatives from universities or interest groups as a source of expert opinion. Some Key Think Tanks Think tanks put a great deal of effort and expense into ensuring the work of their ‘scholars’ is marketed and disseminated effectively. The Heritage Foundation in the US has often been credited with changing the face of think tanks with its aggressive marketing tactics. The greater proportion of its budget goes on marketing and fund raising, including 35-40 per cent of its budget on public relations. Many other think tanks have emulated Heritages’ marketing techniques.4 The Heritage Foundation has a budget of over $25 million per year of which almost 90% comes from more than 6000 private donors. These donors include corporations such as automobile manufacturers, coal, oil, chemical, tobacco companies, foundations (about 25% of the foundation’s total income).5 Heritage promotes deregulation of industry, an unrestrained free market and privatisation, including the sell off of public lands. In line with this ideology it advocates free market solutions to environmental problems or free market environmentalism [Anon:1992 49-53; Shanahan:1993]. It seeks to cast doubt on environmental problems such as global warming and to lobby against legislation or international agreements to prevent such problems. The Institute of Economic Affairs, (IEA) in the UK which has promoted laissezfaire libertarianism or ‘economic liberalism’ for decades. It formed an Environmental Unit and launched Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air in 1994. It promoted property rights as a way of protecting the environment and sought to apply free market solutions to all aspects of society including environmental problems and to reduce the role of government and regulation [Desai:1994 29]. For example, one of its publications stated: “There is a strong case for letting market forces work in energy... A policy for energy is not only unnecessary but undesirable. It hampers market adjustment and induces producers to spend time influencing government rather than improving efficiency.” [Weaver:1989 573] In Australia a prominent conservative/neoliberal think tank, and the oldest, is the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Almost one third of IPA’s $1.5 million annual budget comes from mining and manufacturing companies. The IPA produces articles challenging the greenhouse consensus, attacking mandatory recycling, and promoting the use of pesticides. [Burton:1995 279], [IPA Report:1991 1-3]. Additionally a number of smaller specialist think tanks have been set up, particularly in the US, to promote free market environmentalism, including the 3 Competitive Enterprise Institute, (CEI) the Political Economy Research Centre and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). These particular examples are merely illustrative of the much larger push that has been evident in the last decades. What they have in common is the desire to downplay the urgency of environmental problems, to reduce environmental regulations, and to apply neoliberal policies to environmental problems, as has occurred in other areas of policy. These ideologically motivated think tanks have sought to discredit environmental legislation, giving it the pejorative label ‘command and control’, highlighting its deficiencies and ineffectiveness (ineffectiveness that corporations and corporate-funded think tanks have done their best to ensure). In their place they have advocated market-based mechanisms including price-based and rights-based measures.
6. Resource extraction revenues weaken governments, risks civil war and turns property rights.
Ross 3 writes5
Natural resource revenues can, ironically, weaken governments – making them less likely to resolve social conflicts and provide public goods, like health care and education. There are two ways this can happen. One way is by retarding the effectiveness of a state’s bureaucracy. Some scholars have found that when governments are funded through oil or mineral revenues instead of taxes, they are left with weaker governments. Much of a government’s “strength” comes from its capacity to extract taxes from the population – a capacity that often takes decades to develop. A government that fails to develop this ability may also be unable to establish the type of bureaucracy that can provide effective public goods, and ameliorate social conflicts. The result may be a heightened danger of civil war.18 A second route is by weakening the state’s territorial control. If a country has resources that are highly valuable, and can be mined with little training or investment – such as alluvial gemstones, coltan or tanzalite – it will be difficult for the government to provide law and order in the extractive region. These kinds of mineral deposits attract large numbers of artisanal miners to what are typically rural, “frontier” regions, where the government’s influence is weak. Land claims in these areas become valuable, yet the weakness of the government’s authority makes it hard for claimants to enforce or protect their property rights through legal measures. As a result, they often resort to extralegal measures, including violence, to establish claims and adjudicate disputes. The utility of violence creates a demand for organizations – like criminal gangs, warlords, and rogue military units – that for a price will use extralegal means to enforce mineral claims.19 In addition, the high value-to-weight ratios of these minerals make them difficult to tax and easy to smuggle; these qualities produce high corruption levels inside the government, and large smuggling operations outside of it. The combination of weak, corrupt government authority, and strong criminal organizations can facilitate the rise of rebel movements. The case of Sierra Leone illustrates how alluvial minerals, scattered over a wide area, can weaken a government’s territorial control and lead to civil war. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Sierra Leone had a robust, mineral-based economy that produced iron ore, gold, bauxite, and rutile (titanium oxide), in addition to diamonds. 21 Most of these resources were mined by foreign firms or state-owned companies that provided the government with large revenues, and enormous patronage resources. But in the 1970s and early 1980’s Sierra Leone’s iron ore and kimberlite diamonds were worked out. The mining of alluvial diamonds by informal methods became, by default, the country’s main source of non-agricultural wealth. The Sierra Leone government had long had difficulty exercising its authority over the diamond fields, which was home to tens of thousands of unlicensed miners, plus a network of armed gangs, private armies and paramilitary forces that sold protection services to miners and traders.22 Even before civil war broke out in 1991, Sierra Leone’s growing dependence on alluvial diamonds was causing problems for the government: instead of generating revenues, the diamond fields were generating extraordinary levels of corruption. In 1988 official diamond exports were worth $22,000, while illicit diamond exports were worth perhaps $250 million.23 As long as the national economy was otherwise in good shape, the government was able to manage the corruption, warlords, and private armies in the diamond fields. But in the 1980s the country entered an economic crisis, due to the high price of imported oil, dropping commodity prices, the mining out of kimberlite diamond and iron ore deposits, and economically ruinous government policies. From 1975 to 1990, government revenues dropped from 14.5 percent to just 3.9 percent of GDP. Moreover, in 1985 the politically artful President, Siaka Stevens handed power over to his less adept successor, Joseph Momoh. Collectively, these changes led to the deterioration of the central government’s influence over the diamond-rich areas. Hence when a small group of insurgents called the Revolutionary United Front – totalling just one hundred men – crossed the border from Liberia in March 1991, the Sierra Leone government was too weak to repel them. Instead, the country was drawn into a civil war that lasted ten years, caused between 20,000 and 50,000 deaths, and displaced at least one-third of the population.