Free Market Environmentalism

When it comes to protecting the environment, the view held by most people is that while the free market is certainly a formidable force for economic progress and prosperity, it often stands at odds with the environment. The environment, so it is argued, requires a stronger protector and defender than can be guaranteed by markets, and hence government-enforced regulation of business and consumer action is crucial to protect and enhance it.

In that vein, the term "market failure" has been used to explain such problems as pollution of air and water, overconsumption and depletion of natural resources, species extinction, and global warming. Thus, the bulk of the environmental advocacy movement tends to encourage and support government intervention, based on the argument that those focused on making a quick profit would otherwise ignore or actively harm the natural environment and the communities dependent upon it. 

However, there are other individuals who claim that it is generally preferable to preserve and protect the environment through the free market rather than government regulation. These individuals adhere to a philosophy known as Free Market Environmentalism (FME), the core tenet of which is that "free markets can be more successful than government—and have been more successful historically—in solving many environmental problems." 

Advocates of FME argue that when it comes to environmental problems and possible solutions to them, several market mechanisms need to be taken into account. 

First, there is the broad issue of incentives, among them most crucially, property rights. Free-market environmentalists claim that environmental problems arise because of limited or inadequately specified property rights and liability laws. Free market environmentalists regard property rights protection as the key to ameliorating environmental degradation because property rights give owners incentives to care for what they own. 

Indeed, Aristotle was the first to recognize the value of individual property rights, pointing out that property held in common tends to be less cared for than property held in private. In association with FME, this view is best known through the concept of "The Tragedy of the Commons," described by Garrett Hardin in 1968, which holds that when a resource is commonly owned, every individual using it has an incentive to get as much out of it as possible before the next guy without regard for preservation or conservation. Private owners of natural resources tend to be better stewards because they are focused on protecting the value and profitability of their investment. Private owners also have a stronger incentive to facilitate less waste and greater longevity of the resources they own. As Robert Smith put it:

"Why was the American buffalo nearly exterminated but not the Hereford, the Angus, or the Jersey cow? Why are salmon and trout habitually overfished in the nation's lakes, rivers, and streams, often to the point of endangering the species, while the same species thrive in fish farms and privately owned lakes and ponds? Why do cattle and sheep ranchers overgraze the public lands but maintain lush pastures on their own property? Why are rare birds and mammals taken from the wild in a manner that often harms them and depletes the population, but carefully raised and nurtured in aviaries, game ranches, and hunting preserves? Which would be picked at the optimum ripeness, blackberries along a roadside or blackberries in a farmer's garden? In all of these cases, it is clear that the problem of overexploitation or overharvesting is a result of the resource's being under public rather than private ownership. The difference in their management is a direct result of two totally different forms of property rights and ownership: public, communal, or common property vs. private property. Wherever we have public ownership we find overuse, waste, and extinction; but private ownership results in sustained-yield use and preservation." 

Given the importance of property rights, FME claims it should also be no surprise that, for instance, pollution tends to be worse in socialist countries. By contrast, in capitalist ones, pollution indicators tend to improve over time. 

Second, FME points to the problem of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost, in essence, is the cost of all the alternatives forgone in favor of a given use of resources. In the case of environmental protection then, FME proponents urge, for instance, to consider that time and money spent on compliance with certain regulations (e.g. pollution controls or energy efficiency requirements) cannot be devoted to job creation, or research and development of cleaner production methods. 

Third, FME questions a common rationale for government regulation, the combatting of negative externalities created by free market actions. FME advocates point out that seeking to combat one such externality can often create unintended, but possibly worse consequences. For instance, requirements for companies to implement the best-available technology to prevent or mitigate environmental damage may be too costly for some producers. Or, government regulations to protect endangered species lead owners to prevent those species from inhabiting the property in order to avoid having the government take away their right to develop that property. Also, government subsidies which spur the development of alternative energies and create more "green jobs" may end up causing job losses, higher energy prices, and more political corruption.

Fourth, some FME proponents find it more valuable to focus on transaction costs (i.e. the cost incurred in any trade) rather than externalities. Here, Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase's seminal article "The Problem of Social Cost" is often cited in attempt to justify the idea that when transaction costs are low, polluters and victims can work things out among themselves, and that such private negotiations could be hindered by government intervention that increase the transaction costs involved. However, it should be noted that whether Coase's ideas support FME is a matter of contention within the FME movement.

Lastly, FME argues that the market's main signal, prices, if allowed to work, will provide us with information about the availability and value of natural resources, and consequently will lead both industry and consumers to adapt their behavior accordingly. 

As is the case with almost every theory, Free Market Environmentalism experiences a number of objections. One of the common arguments offered in opposition to FME is that it ignores the rights of the poor who often have no means to obtain property or to redress the suffering caused to them by environmental exploitation. A similar criticism is that property rights and the legal remedies associated with them are only available to members of the current, but not of future generations, since the latter have no standing in a present-day court. Another argument against FME suggests that in order for the theory to be viable, one would have to assign specific costs and values to every environmental benefit, a task which FME opponents declare is impossible to accomplish. Finally, some opponents believe that, while the market may be able to address some environmental concerns, it cannot do so for the most difficult and pressing problems such as global warming.

This library section provides expositions and examinations of the arguments for and against Free Market Environmentalism. It also contains a variety of case studies assessing the viability of free market vs. governmental approaches to the environmental issues faced by current and future generations.

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"I’ve always disliked the term 'free-market environmentalist.' I’m sure part of that reaction is because the term is often used as a fig-leaf for organizations with agendas that are actually inconsistent with environmental protection." This piece goes on to explain what Wetzler believes is inconsistent between the FME ideology and regular environmentalism.

"Of course, in and of itself, this supply of natural resources is largely useless. What is important from the perspective of economic activity and production is the subset of natural resources that human intelligence has identified as possessing properties capable of serving human needs and wants and over which human beings have gained the power actually to direct to the satisfaction of their...

"In what follows, I will offer a brief survey of the economics of climate change or, more precisely, the economics of lessening climate change. I’ll try to lay out the areas of broad agreement as well as those that remain in major dispute."

"Legislative efforts to implement a supposedly 'environmentally friendly' conversion of the U.S. economy by means of carbon credits may be on hold for the moment, but that does not mean that a shift toward solar and wind power is not underway. The motivation for the trend is supposedly profit, not ideology."

"Typically, calls that industrialized countries pay poor, developing nations for harms allegedly caused by human-induced or anthropogenic global warming come from UN climatocrats or Third World activists eager to redistribute global wealth. But does Free Market Environmentalism, given its core commitment to property rights, offer grounds for such compensation?...

"All of this is being threatened by a historic first for Utah: a strip coal mine within 10 miles of Bryce Canyon, in a small town called Alton. I have visited this quaint town many times, as it borders both Bryce Canyon and the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. Alton is known for the large and beautiful deer and elk that live our region of Utah, as the...

"In his seminal work, 'The Problem of Social Cost, Coase held that in cases of private property right disputes involving what have been called externalities, 'with costless market transactions, the decision of the courts concerning liability for damage would be without effect on the allocation of resources.' ... I shall try to show that this view is mistaken because it does not take account of...

By drawing on various examples, the author explains how countries of the freest economies maintain the best environmental conditions and that capitalism is the most powerful tool for environmental conservation.

"[P]rivate ownership — under the proper conditions — has a demonstrable success rate. With ownership rules established, even if they are imperfect, it is at least possible to have true market incentives driving economic decision-making, rather than the race to the commons, which always ends in tragedy for the environment."

"When the state intervenes in the marketplace, it simply does not have the foresight to see beyond the primary impacts of its policy. By trying to help landed interests in Florida, it is the federal government that is responsible for so much of the destruction that has occurred in the Everglades over the past 60 year."

"When a business draws up plans to pump hazardous waste, brine or sewage into disposal wells, most people want to make sure the stuff will never come back up.

But could the triggering of earthquakes be another problem?

Geologists are investigating whether waste injections in disposal wells in northern Arkansas have caused 87 earthquakes since January. The largest was a 4.7-...

"Earth Day is upon us once again. Like most people who think at all about how much burden their way of life places on Spaceship Earth, I feel a bit guilty. But my conscience is clearer than usual this year--and so are those of 2,500 other economists.

Let me explain. A few months ago an organization called Redefining Progress...

"The principles for guiding the proper stewardship of economic resources apply equally to the stewardship of natural resources. This section will examine different perspectives for allocating the scarce resources of the earth. It will emphasize an economic perspective that serves both the needs of the human person and maintains the integrity of creation, while...

"China's recent rapid economic growth has come at a cost of environmental degradation. Various factors, including the conflict between economic development and environmental concerns, insufficient government regulation of China's environment, and lack of public awareness regarding environmental issues have hindered China's effort to find a proper balance between...

"Think a tree is just a tree? Think again. A new United Nations study pits dollar signs on the services nature provides."

"[...] The report is aimed at global policymakers, many of whom have begun to address new questions about the natural world and how to steer clear of tipping points that would result in ecological and economic...

"Pollution is non-partisan when it comes to claiming victims. That is why it is astonishing to find a majority of Republican respondents in a recent national poll favoring the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Even politicians most sharply critical of the EPA readily concede that progress in curbing pollution over the last four decades is largely due to the federal...

In this speech, Jerry Taylor addresses the Environmental Grantmakers Association on the issue of free market environmentalism. Taylor declares the following about the topic:

"'Free-market environmentalism' is anchored in the belief that the right of the individual to live free of unhealthy or environmentally threatening pollution supersedes any concern for the 'greater good' or the...

"On October 12, 1999, United Nations demographers lamented the symbolic birth of planet Earth’s six-billionth resident. The world’s population had doubled from three billion in less than 50 years. And, though the rate of growth is slowing, population is projected to reach nine billion in another 50 years .... Many planners express the traditional Malthusian fears that the earth’s ability to...

"Environmental policy is finally growing up. But to make genuine improvements, rather than merely tinker around the edges, we first need to understand where the demand for environmental regulation comes from, and where it went wrong. And we need a vision of how environmental policy might be set right--of the general principles and concepts that might guide a new environmentalism."

"Positive externalities are benefits that are infeasible to charge to provide; negative externalities are costs that are infeasible to charge to not provide. Ordinarily, as Adam Smith explained, selfishness leads markets to produce whatever people want; to get rich, you have to sell what the public is eager to buy. Externalities undermine the social benefits of individual selfishness. If...

Many of the world's fish populations are in trouble in large measure due to over fishing.  This article documents how individual fish quotas, giving fisherman an exclusive right to catch a quantity of fish and the ability to trade that right, help protect fisheries.

"Hoover fellow Terry L. Anderson describes the movement he founded. An interview with Candice Jackson Mayhugh of the Stanford Review."

"Summary: 'Free Market Environmentalism was once considered an oxymoron. But during the 1990s the concept was seriously and successfully applied to practical environmental problems. As a result, some green activists now recognize that innovative market-based strategies can solve problems from conservation to pollution. Supporters of free market environmentalism have organized themselves into a...

"Environmentalist objections to trade and proposals for the 'greening' of trade are a fundamental assault on free trade principles. They also threaten environmental quality. Free trade is essential for both wealth creation and environmental protection."

"Free-market environmentalism emphasizes markets as a solution to environmental problems. Proponents argue that free markets can be more successful than government—and have been more successful historically—in solving many environmental problems."

"Environmental awareness and a sense of urgency with regard to climate change are much more broadly shared today. The Obama administration should take note of this and place itself squarely on the side of promoting the spread of environmentally sound technologies."

"Gulf Coast states are taking the initiative in addressing the BP oil spill, as the federal government continues to do little to protect states from advancing oil and has been standing in the way of many remedial actions by the states.

State and local officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida are expressing...

"This is not to say that government regulations haven't had an impact or aren't occasionally worthwhile. It is to say, however, that free markets are an ally -- not an enemy -- of Mother Earth. The Left, accordingly, has no special claim on Earth Day."

How can a free market protect the environment?  The authors argue that over the long run, private ownership is the most effective protector of the environment because it encourages good stewardship.

"The president's goal should be to leave office having improved the environment and reduced the regulatory burden."

"It's not enough to have to worry about oil and gas companies building more and more shale gas wells in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. We also have to worry about them drilling wells 8,000 feet deep to store the leftover fracking fluid, like they do in Cambridge, OH, with a company called Devco.

Next door, in Pennsylvania, industry tried dumping the wastewater ...

"More and more, consumers are basing their food purchases on individual preferences about food content. For many consumers this means a focus on nutrition or fat. Others care more about the methods of production, taking into consideration whether a product is kosher or organic. Some choices are made out of concern for personal health and well-being; others reflect subjective value preferences...

"Last time, we talked about the need to log in the national forests of the southwest to reduce fire risk. Contrary to what 'environmentalists' often seems to advocate, tree cutting doesn't have to hurt the environment.

Beyond fire reduction, there's another key reason making the national forests preserves doesn’t protect the environment. Why? Because of the illusion of preservation....

"Environmentalists often call for a world with zero pollution. The response from industry and professional economists is disbelief. Who is right? That depends upon how one defines pollution. Assuming that pollution is properly defined, government should seek to reduce pollution as much as is possible—perhaps even to eliminate it altogether. However, if pollution is improperly defined, '...

"The theory here relates to market failure. Market failure occurs where resources are not allocated to their most efficient use. In the case of the environment the failure occurs because of the existence of negative externalities. Negative externalities are the effects on a third party of an economic decision. Businesses highlighted in the Environment Agency report...

"The industry uses the terms brine or produced waters to describe the salty waste fluid that constantly percolates out of wells drilled to tap oil and natural gas.

For decades, the best way for Ohio oil and gas companies to get rid of the stuff was to send it back underground. It’s the sole purpose of a network of 177 disposal wells that state regulators have overseen since the 1980s....

"You might, of course, want to argue that the environmental risks are greater than the energy rewards. For the sake of argument, let's assume that the EIA is right and 18 billion barrels of oil are at stake. And let's further assume that the oil could be sold for an average price of $100 a barrel. How likely is it that the cost of the environmental damages...

"Earth Day is upon us, and with it, several 'green' events, including the broadcasting of 'Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau' on public television and in schools. This is surprising at a time when government involvement in the environment is all the rage. Henry David Thoreau, who wrote that "government is best which governs not at all," is probably writhing in his...

"When economists refer to the 'opportunity cost' of a resource, they mean the value of the next-highest-valued alternative use of that resource. If, for example, you spend time and money going to a movie, you cannot spend that time at home reading a book, and you cannot spend the money on something else. If your next-best alternative to seeing the movie is reading the book, then the opportunity cost of seeing the movie is the money spent plus the pleasure you forgo by not reading the book."

"Schoolchildren are being brainwashed with an environmental message in the classroom. Children are not just being pinned down in the classroom and force-fed what to think: it's worse than that. The next generation - from primary schoolchildren through to college students - is being taught not to think, merely encouraged to accept the official line. It ought to be a...

This page contains brief descriptions of environmental issues pertinent to today.

"One of the most fundamental requirements of a capitalist economic system—and one of the most misunderstood concepts—is a strong system of property rights. For decades social critics in the United States and throughout the Western world have complained that 'property' rights too often take precedence over 'human' rights, with the result that people are treated unequally and have unequal...

"Taking a long-term view of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, we can discern two sets of negative and positive ecotipping points, precipitated primarily by political and economic forces. They offer valuable lessons for similar situations elsewhere."

"Recycling is not a panacea for environmental problems. It is instead only one of several means for disposing of waste. Recycling is widely used where the economics are favorable but inappropriate where they are not. Government regulations may override the economics, but only at a high cost and by requiring actions, such as curbside recycling, that people will not do voluntarily."

This is a compilement of articles related to environment issues and free-market environmentalism. Articles inside this issue include: "The Earth Charter and the United Nations" by Thomas Sieger Derr; "Environmental Piety No Substitute for Technique" by Matthew Carolan; and "Tempted by Affluence?" by Samuel Gregg.

"As the United Nations’ World Summit on Sustainable Development opens this week in Johannesburg, South Africa, it appears that the language of the politics of sustainable development will become a permanent part of the lexicon of public debate. The problem is, however, that 'sustainable development' itself is a fluid term, having a different meaning for every...

"During the Independence Day weekend of 1999, northern Minnesota suffered one of the worst windstorms in recorded history. Millions of trees were leveled.

The devastation occurred primarily in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), a federally protected region of one million acres in which motorboat and snowmobile use is severely restricted and logging and mining are banned...

"The final, and perhaps most important, criticism of the Kyoto Protocol is that it simply represents too little, too late. When it initially presented its findings to the United Nations in 1990, the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) charged that a drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 60 to 80 percent was necessary just to slow the process of climate...

"Most people would assume that 20 years from now when historians look back at 2008-09, they will conclude that the most important thing to happen in this period was the Great Recession. I’d hold off on that. If we can continue stumbling out of this economic crisis, I believe future historians may well conclude that the most important thing to happen in the last 18...

Knowing the limits of government regulation, many environmentalists are turning to capitalist tools to protect the environment. This article documents a number of examples of concerned citizens either paying for environmental improvements or negotiating trades between other parties that result in environmental improvements.

"Much of environmental regulation deals with risk—the risk of pesticides on food, the risk of groundwater contamination, the risk of industrial emissions, the risk of technological change, the risk of ecological disruption. Were Americans not concerned with these and other similar risks, much of the environmental regulation that is so hotly contested today would not exist.

The debate...

While declaring that "people can be sincerely committed to caring for the planet -- and also firmly committed to the idea that free market principles offer the best hope of doing so," Clark Williams-Derry suggests that there are several flaws with free market environmentalism. He then proceeds to give a quick overview of a paper which debunks the Coase theorem.

In this piece, Michael Munger explores the benefits of recycling. Munger believes that the recycling effort can actually be more expensive than normal disposal techniques, and thus he advocates for a free market approach to this issue. In the eyes of Munger, "'Recycle, regardless of cost!' doesn't solve a problem; it creates one. Laws requiring recycling harm me, the environment, and everyone...

"Corporations are often accused of despoiling the environment in their quest for profit. Free enterprise is supposedly incompatible with environmental preservation, so that government regulation is required. ...

But if the profit motive is the primary cause of pollution, one would not expect to find much pollution in socialist countries, such as the former Soviet Union, China, and in...

"The long line of tanker trucks waiting to unload at the Devco No. 1 injection well shows that business is good at the underground-disposal site.

When energy companies need to get rid of the millions of barrels of brine — the salty, chemical-laced wastewater that comes out of shale-gas wells — they bring most of it to places like this.

At the Devco well, the brine is injected 8,...

Chart or Graph

"Records kept by state oil and gas regulators show that the brine and 'fracking' fluids from Pennsylvania and West Virginia shale gas wells that are injected down Ohio disposal wells have steadily increased."

"Environmental stresses on human health are lower and ecosystem vitality is greater in countries with more economic freedom."

Figure 2 presents an EKC [Environmental Kuznets Curves] for sulfur dioxide estimated by Xiang Dong Qin (1998). This estimate used balanced panel data for fourteen countries over three time periods.

"The stocks of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and a number of gases that arise from industrial processes) are rising, as a result of human activity."

By the 1960s fish populations were dwindling in all the nearshore waters around O'ahu. This is directly related to the growth in human population (see Figure 1). The correlation is due to over-fishing, urbanization and pollution, habitat alteration, and nearshore activities.

Since the 1960s North Sea cod have been overfished, as more and more - and bigger - fishing boats caught more and more cod. At first, catches continued to increase each year. But then - surprise, surprise! - they started to decline, as there were not enough breeding fish left to maintain the cod population.

"Geologists are studying earthquakes reported in recent years in Arkansas, Texas and West Virginia to determine if they were triggered by the drilling of waste-disposal wells. The map shows the locations of 10 industrial waste-disposal wells and 170 oil and gas waste-disposal wells. Several locations include more than one well."

"The final, and perhaps most important, criticism of the Kyoto Protocol is that it simply represents too little, too late."

This map shows the top ten countries with environmental treaties, and the number of treaties they have made.

"The maps give an idea of how much of the Earth's forest has been lost in the last 10,000 years." [1st Map shows estimates during 8000 BC, 2nd Map shows estimates during 2000 AD]

Analysis Report White Paper

"What should be done about the threat of global warming? Unfortunately, many proposals — including mandatory limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — would be much more costly to society than the danger it seeks to avert."

"The 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten well-established policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality."

In order to tackle the pressing environmental problems, this report calls for comprehensive programmes that adopt an intersectoral approach and that are based on the collaborative efforts of different entities, both private and governmental.

"The Soviet Union should not adopt the U.S. approach to protecting the environment. The fact that the United States has a superior environment has far less to do with our Environmental Protection Agency than with our free-market economy."

"We have seen that pollution is not a failure of markets but a failure of government to permit private individuals to protect their property and persons against trespass. Free-market environmentalism offers a solution to the problem."

"An alternative policy that will both enhance the values sought by environmentalists and improve the fiscal management of the lands is to turn them into fiduciary trusts. Under this proposal, the U.S. would retain title to the lands, but the rules under which they would be governed would be very different."

"Conservation of biodiversity in Africa is desirable for a variety of ecological, economic and other reasons. Whereas economics do not necessarily rank top of the list, the neglect thereof will inevitably lead to the failure of achieving conservation objectives. If wildlife and protected areas do not contribute to poverty reduction but instead limit available resources which otherwise could be...

"We analyze a panel of 302 utilities with private sector participation (PSP) and 928 utilities without PSP in 71 developing and transition countries in order to evaluate the impact of PSP on firm performance in electricity distribution and water and sanitation services."

"We discuss criteria for deciding whether consumption is excessive, and we identify factors in the economic and ecological domains that determine whether it is excessive according to those criteria."

This article describes the sad state of the Chinese pollution problem. The piece blames China's great industrial growth for the pollution problem while also laying some of the blame at the feet of the Communist government.

"The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, was designed to recover species to a level at which they are no longer considered endangered and therefore do not require the Act’s protection. Unfortunately, the law has had the opposite effect on many species."

"The forests of North America represent enormous natural bounty. Yet, in the United States at least, the benefits of this wealth of nature are not being fully realized. Taxpayers lose money on their public forests, and the forests face severe ecological threats."

"The farmers of Cheney Lake Watershed have illustrated that responsible land management begins with the landowner and that a bottom-up approach to watershed management works."

"In Colorado, a group of west slope ranchers devised a model for water banking that could make water conservation more profitable than irrigating, and now they are working with state agencies and conservation organizations to turn that idea into reality."

"In the polarizing world of environmental policy, the popular press is replete with stories on the incompatibility of conservation and commerce....[T]he rhetoric in politics and in the media all too often gives a false impression that there must be a choice between one or the other."

"Deacon draws on a large literature on the subject, but focuses on a novel management experiment in Alaska and one developing along the California coast. He makes the case that economic theory can provide guidance for getting people who fish for a livelihood to agree on how best to protect fish stocks and reduce environmental damage."

This report addresses the relationship between free society and environmental condition. Environmental stresses on human health are lower and ecosystem vitality is greater in countries with more economic freedom.

"This motif of using free market means for ecological ends is analogous to the attempt to use capitalist means in order to attain socialist goals."

"Three Columbia River fish species have been enlisted as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Millions of dollars have been invested by government agencies, boards and conservation groups in an attempt to boost fish populations, but they have failed."

"This article, prepared for the forthcoming 2nd edition of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, provides an overview of the economics of environmental policy."

"Although this document aims to provide an initial synthesis of the evidence on environmental justice, and some ideas for the way forward,its aim is to provoke thought and debate rather than to be comprehensive."

"In this article, I discuss environmental turning points, the agents of change that contribute to the turn, the rules that accompany a race to the top, and the rule characteristics that sustain the race."

"This paper shall attempt to reconcile environmentalism and economic freedom."

"This study examines the impacts of increased commercial switchgrass production on U.S. agricultural land-use patterns, commodity prices, and the environmental impacts of cropping systems in the agricultural sector."

"Farmers in the drought plagued Flint River Basin of southwestern Georgia are working with conservation organizations to keep water instream and underground while maintaining profits in their agricultural operations."

"This Article seeks to outline an alternative approach to environmental policy, one based on market institutions and property rights instead of central planning and bureaucratic control. In principle, this entails nothing less than a complete reorientation of existing environmental policy."

"To address the uncertainties of global warming, policymakers should seek to eliminate government interventions in the marketplace that obstruct emission reductions, discourage the adoption of lower-emission technologies, and undermine technological innovation."

"Our state parks face a growing challenge to serve an increasing number of visitors while preserving natural and cultural resources. Shrinking support from general funds and shifting political allegiances have played havoc with park budgets and management plans."

"The year 2009 marks the anniversary of several key moments in environmental history, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker disaster, the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, and, perhaps most notoriously, the Cuyahoga River fire of June 1969."

"Governing natural resources sustainably is a continuing struggle. Major debates occur over what types of policy 'interventions' best protect forests, with choices of property and land tenure systems being central issues."

"There is something terribly wrong with the current regime of environmental regulations. Environmental statutes and regulations designed to protect environmental quality are failing. Even laws that produced environmental gains in the 1970s are no longer up to the task."

"This paper sets out a theory of how openness to international goods markets affects pollution concentrations. We develop a theoretical model to divide trade's impact on pollution into scale, technique and composition effects and then examine this theory using data on sulfur dioxide concentrations from the Global Environment Monitoring Project."

"Although the forests of British Columbia, Canada, are 96 percent government-owned, the management of the forests is far more market-driven than in the U.S. Forest Service, according to a new report by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center."

"Instead of adopting stringent or absolutist environmental policies for their own sake, this Article asserts that the government should focus on forcing polluters to compensate pollution victims for the property or health damage which results from such pollution."

"I argue in this article that free-market environmentalism is unlikely to make political progress unless its arguments are recast in a mode that speaks to the communitarian greens on their own terms. One way of achieving this goal is to restate the case for free-market environmentalism from a Hayekian perspective."

"It now seems to be widely accepted among policy analysts of both the Left and the Right that direct government control of market activities and market outcomes—the so-called command-and-control approach to public policy—is an excessively costly way to achieve public policy goals."

"My purpose here is to suggest that there is an alternative to political environmentalism and that is free market environmentalism. To develop this concept, I begin by describing environmental policy since the 1970s and ask how well the political approach has worked."

"The Coase theorem is often interpreted as demonstrating why private negotiations between polluters and victims can yield efficient levels of pollution without government interference. It is considered by many to provide the theoretical underpinnings for 'free-market' solutions to environmental problems."

"Prior to any question about the relationship between necessity and contingency, nature and freedom, lies a more fundamental question that is hardly ever asked: What is nature?"

"Contrary to the notion that we are 'running out' of oil, the U.S. continues to be rich in petroleum potential. Certain sources of oil have been too expensive to produce, while others have been made inaccessible by the federal government."

"Environmental issues imperil the libertarian utopia of a society in which the individual is completely sovereign over his or her private domain. Taken seriously, this aspiration would lead to an environmentalism so extreme that it would preclude human life...."

"Establishing secure tenure is widely recognized as a fundamental component of sustainable forest management. Policy-makers generally prefer privatization to achieve these ends, although common property institutions may also be appropriate."

"Free-market environmentalists argue that existing policy in national parks and forests involves many subsidies that favor some activities over others. To end such subsidies, they recommend privatizing lands and management to the extent possible."

"The world's limited patrimony of natural resources has stirred up a lively debate: how can we optimally manage our resources? It is no simple task for analysts to determine how best to manage or to allocate resources."

"Where strict private property rights cannot be established, new markets can be created or economic incentives can be brought to bear on the management of the resources in question in order to improve the environment."

"[I]n the modern age we have substituted collective decision-making for individual decision-making with respect to many environmental issues. This change in turn has created perverse incentives that (ironically) have led to environmental harm."

"Mandatory recycling programs aren't good for posterity. They offer mainly short-term benefits to a few groups -- politicians, public relations consultants, environmental organizations, waste-handling corporations -- while diverting money from genuine social and environmental problems."

"The burden of regulation on Americans increased at an alarming rate in fiscal year 2010. Based on data from the Government Accountability Office, an unprecedented 43 major new regulations were imposed by Washington."

"Overexploitation of wildlife is not a peculiar characteristic of Western man, nor is it a consequence of some form of the modern economic system or the much maligned 'commerce' so frequently condemned by environmentalists."

"If we go back to the 'Founding Fathers' of American traditionalist conservatism, we will find a solid philosophical basis that would lead conservatives to be environmentalists."

"Shale oil may be following in the footsteps of shale gas now that hydro fracturing is being used to produce shale oil, bringing jobs and money to states with those resources."

"The study finds evidence of better performance in private utilities compared to state-owned utilities according to the statistical and DEA performance measures. But no statistically significant cost differences were discovered between private and public suppliers in the stochastic cost frontier analysis."

Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen.

The Review first examines the evidence on the economic impacts of climate change itself, and explores the economics of stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The second half of the Review considers the complex policy challenges involved in managing the transition to a low-carbon economy and in ensuring that societies can adapt to the consequences of climate change.

"An anticommons problem arises when there exist multiple rights to exclude. In a lengthy law review paper, Michael A. Heller has examined 'The Tragedy of the Anticommons,' especially in regard to disappointing experiences in efforts to shift from socialist to market institutions in Russia."

"The dominant approach to environmental policy endorsed by conservative and libertarian policy thinkers is 'free market environmentalism' or 'FME.' ... The FME approach to environmental policy is grounded in the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources."

"Federally owned forests in the United States are facing financial and ecological problems. At the same time, the public’s growing concern over environmental issues and future energy sources are pushing the promotion of renewable energy. Is increasing the amount of America’s energy coming from forests a viable solution?"

"Free market environmentalists believe that the extension of private property rights and market transactions is sufficient to address environmental difficulties. But there is no invisible hand operating in markets that ensures that environmentally sound practices will be employed just because property rights are in private hands."

The purpose of this PERC Policy Series paper is to show, by examining specific cases in American and English history, that strong legal traditions enabled ordinary citizens to protect their air, land, and water, often against politically potent parties.

"But long before the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the many state EPA’s, and before the principal pollution control statutes were enacted, the common law of tort provided a seemingly powerful set of rights to pollution victims that might also deter damaging pollution discharge."

"If the costs of preventing additional warming were to remain constant, the Kyoto Protocol would cost a remarkable 12 percent of GDP per degree of warming prevented annually over a 50-year period."

"The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Interim Report, a first assessment stemming from a G8+5 initiative sponsored by Germany and the European Commission, points to the growing pressures on biodiversity and ecosystem services across the world and the need for improved valuation metrics for pricing natural resources."

"It is increasingly clear that Congress will amend the Endangered Species Act. For one thing, property rights groups, who are important constituents of the new Republican Congress, are outraged at the power the Act gives federal agents to control landowners' use of their property. For another, the Act isn't working well to save species."

"We hear a lot of expressed concern about conserving the environment, but no one talks much about producing it. Why not manufacture it competitively and sell it in the free market like other goods and services—and even bundle it with product support? As a matter of fact, that is being done."

"The proponents of free market environmentalism (Privateers) hold an atomistic view of society, glorify market exchanges, discount market failures, and decry governmental intervention.… Yet privateers ignore the fact that most environmental resources are incapable of being accurately priced."

"Many environmentalists are dissatisfied with the environmental record of free economies. Capitalism, it is claimed, is a wasteful system, guilty of exploiting the finite resources of the Earth in a vain attempt to maintain a non-sustainable standard of living."

With $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits allocated for green manufacturers, President Barack Obama and other Democratic politicians have high hopes for green technology. But their expectations clash with both economic theory and practical experience in Europe. Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created.

"Forcing polluters to bear the costs of their activities is also said to enhance economic efficiency. Appropriately applied, policies based on a polluter pays principle (PPP) should enable us to protect the environment without sacrificing the efficiency of a free market economic system."

"The reduction in pollution emissions in Canada and in the US since 1970 appears to be attributable predominantly to government regulation, although tort law has contributed to the reduction of some pollutants."

"Does economic growth continuously and universally increase environmental disruption? Virtually all literature answers in the affirmative …. This answer is damning for the wealth of nations, especially low-income countries and segments."

"Austrian economics lacks a formalized, self-conscious theory of environmental economics. But in fact all of the major elements of such a theory already exist and in that sense what is needed is to piece together the relevant aspects of Austrian economics in order to draw out and focus a theory that is already there."

"But for many, the current impasse suggests that the movement must adapt to the dominant ideological currents of the time. Some environmentalists have thus shifted their focus toward voluntary programs, economic incentives and the mechanisms of the 'free market' as means to advance the cause of environmental protection."

"Metal mining on federal lands is governed by an 1872 law. Critics argue that the law 'gives away' valuable assets at prices well below market value, often for uses other than mining, and does not allow the government to conserve mineral resources through public ownership."

Driesen declares that his "review will show that a property rights framework does little to illuminate the problem of selecting among government strategies for pollution control and provides an awkward and incomplete lense for viewing pollution problems."

"Rules governing the global environment and the international economy are currently decided in separate arenas. Yet, environmental agreements can have strong economic implications, particularly with the growing use of market mechanisms. Economic liberalization rules, meanwhile, may limit the effectiveness of environmental agreements."

Video/Podcast/Media

At the 2008 National Lawyers Convention, speakers discussed current policy and legal ramifications of reactions to climate change.

"Daniel Botkin, ecologist and author, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how we think about our role as humans in the natural world, the dynamic nature of environmental reality and the implications for how we react to global warming."

"Michael Heller of Columbia Law School and author of The Gridlock Economy talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the idea that fragmented ownership is a barrier to innovation. Heller makes an analogy between the tragedy of the commons and what he calls the tragedy of the anticommons--the problem of bundling together numerous individual claims to a resource. Examples discussed...

"Karol Boudreaux, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about wildlife management in Africa. Their conversation focuses on community-based wildlife management in Namibia, a policy to give communities the incentives to protect wildlife and avoid the tragedy of the commons."

"Mike Munger, professor of economics and political science at Duke University and frequent guest of EconTalk, talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics and politics of recycling. Munger argues that recycling can save resources, of course, but it can also require more resources than production from scratch. Some curbside recycling, for example, makes sense, while other forms (such as...

"Bruce Yandle of Clemson University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center looks at the tragedy of the commons and the various ways that people have avoided the overuse of resources that are held in common. Examples discussed include fisheries, roads, rivers and the air. Yandle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical use of norms, cooperative ventures such as...

"Stossel investigates methods of protecting endangered animals."

"Lecture by Walter Block given to the 1990 ISIL World Libertarian Convention.

Walter Block, an Austrian school economist and anarcho-libertarian philosopher, is Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans and senior fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of the books Defending the Undefendable;...

"On March 8, 2010, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson spoke at the National Press Club about EPA's progress. She explored the challenges and opportunities of leading an environmental agency in a time of economic challenge and technological innovation."

"In economic activity, there are sometimes 'externalities' or spillover effects to other people not involved in the original exchange. Positive externalities result in beneficial outcomes for others, but negative externalities impose costs on others. Prof. Sean Mullholland at Stonehill College addresses a classic example of a negative externality, pollution, and describes three possible...

"Free market environmentalism? Isn't that an oxymoron? Not so says Terry Anderson, self-proclaimed free market environmentalist. The FME movement has a rich history based on the tenets of private property rights, and tort law. Jon Caldara sits down with Terry Anderson to get the skinny on the FME movement on this episode Independent Thinking." 

This video is about the "Cash-for-Clunker" program implemented by the government. Jeff Miron, economic professor at Harvard University, comments on the program.

 

"In economic activity, there are sometimes 'externalities' or spillover effects to other people not involved in the original exchange. Positive externalities result in beneficial outcomes for others, but negative externalities impose costs on others. Prof. Sean Mullholland addresses a classic example of a negative externality, pollution, and describes three possible solutions for the problem:...

"Peter Robinson interviews Steven Hayward who challenges the established narrative of environmentalism, beginning with the notion that the earth is fragile and that we have little time to save it from environmental catastrophe. He deconstructs the case for global warming (including cap and trade plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions and the new EPA endangerment finding on CO2) and speaks to...

"A dedicated, unabashed, free market capitalist, T. J. Rodgers takes a businessmans and engineers view of global warming. How serious is it, and what should we make of the plans offered up by politicians such as Al Gore and Barack Obama to deal with it? If cap and trade or pollution taxes on CO2 are not the answer, what is?"

"Author Thomas Sowell argues that public demand for intellectuals is largely manufactured by intellectuals themselves. He says intellectuals make alarming predictions using causes like global warming to create a need for their services."

"People living together must find some way to preserve common resources. Unfortunately, there are strong incentives for people to exploit these resources when they are held in common by everyone. As Prof. Sean Mulholland at Stonehill College explains, the 'tragedy of the commons' occurs when individuals acting independently end up depleting shared resources, such as fisheries or pastureland....

"Jane Shaw discusses the possibility for individuals to protect the environment through free markets. She briefly explains why the world is suffering of many environmental problems and details on the importance of understanding economics to diagnose and solve them. She also comments on the tragedy of the commons concept, created by Garrett Hardin in 1968 – a tragedy that according to its...

Primary Document

In Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U. S. 497, this Court held that the Clean Air Act authorizes federal regulation of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases....

"Contemporary research on the outcomes of diverse institutional arrangements for governing common-pool resources (CPRs) and public goods at multiple scales builds on classical economic theory while developing new theory to explain phenomena that do not fit in a dichotomous world of 'the market' and 'the state.' Scholars are slowly shifting from positing simple systems to using more complex...

"George Reisman was a student of Mises's, a translator of his work, and, as he demonstrates in this outstanding treatise, a leading theorist in the Misesian tradition. This mammoth exposition deals with the method and theory of economics, and particularly excels in its application to matters of policy. Its sections on price controls, money, banking, and environmentalism apply Misesian theory...

The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer.

"As of April 2005, EPA had completed 404 of the 452 actions required to meet the objectives of Titles I, III, and IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Of the 338 requirements that had statutory deadlines prior to April 2005, EPA completed 256 late: many (162) 2 years or less after the required date, but others (94) more than 2 years after their deadlines....

"In conclusion, my study finds that substantial benefits would accrue from successful clean-up of the Sea. It is fatuous to believe that such benefits can be achieved without substantial costs. Such costs, in turn, must be borne by someone, and no private party is going to gladly shoulder a sizable share of the clean-up costs."

"An act to provide for liability, compensation, cleanup, and emergency response for hazardous substances released into the environment and the cleanup of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites."

In his book, Economics of Welfare, Pigou developed the concept of externalities, costs imposed on others that are not taken into account by the person taking the action. He argued for government intervention to alleviate a negative extermality. His concept has become the foundation for today's environmental economics.

"The 'Economists' Statement on Climate Change' will be released at a press conference this Thursday, February 13, 1997. 2000 economists have signed on to the statement, including six Nobel Laureates. The statement (text below) champions the conclusions of the IPCC report, asserts the economic feasibility of greenhouse gas reductions without harming the American...

This is the text of the act, the link was provided via the organization River Network.

"An Act to provide for water pollution control activities in the Public Health Service of the Federal Security Agency and in the Federal Works Agency, and for other purposes."

Mises explained economic phenomena as the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could ... to attain ... wants and ... avoid ... consequences.

"Almost 1 1/2 years ago I sent to the Congress the original proposal for this landmark legislation, landmark in its scope and in its impact on preserving the environmental quality of our country. It was known as a superfund bill, which began a massive and a needed cleanup of hazardous wastes in our country, a problem that had been neglected for decades or even generations. It fills a major gap...

"The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012."

"Finally, we must renounce the common practice of writers on environmental law of acting as special pleaders for air pollution plaintiffs, lamenting whenever plaintiffs are not allowed to ride roughshod over defendants. The overriding factor in air pollution law, as in other parts of the law, should be libertarian and property rights principles rather than the...

I AM GLAD to approve this legislation which is to be known as the Clean Air Act. It will make possible a national effort to control air pollution, a serious and growing threat to both our health and our safety.

"The Commonwealth of Massachusetts leads the way in promoting the cleanup and redevelop-ment of brownfield sites. With the first privatized cleanup program in the country and innovative financing and liability reduction programs available to both public and private sector parties, Massachusetts has helped over a thousand projects move toward redevelopment."

"The concept of public goods has been developed through successive refinement over a long period of time. Yet, surprisingly enough, nowhere in the literature does there appear to be a clear general definition of this concept or the more general one of 'externality.' The accounts given are usually either very general and discursive, difficult to interpret in specific contexts, or else they are...

"As concern with the condition of our physical environment has intensified, it has become increasingly clear that we need to know more about the total environment-land, water and air. It also has become increasingly clear that only by reorganizing our Federal efforts can we develop that knowledge, and effectively ensure the protection, development and enhancement of the total environment...

"IT IS particularly fitting that my first official act in this new decade is to approve the National Environmental Policy Act.

The past year has seen the creation of a President's Cabinet committee on environmental quality, ... and we have devoted many hours to the pressing problems of pollution control, airport location, wilderness preservation, highway construction, and population...

"I HAVE today signed S. 1983, the Endangered Species Act of 1973. At a time when Americans are more concerned than ever with conserving our natural resources, this legislation provides the Federal Government with needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our national heritage--threatened wildlife."

"The concept of pollution prevention, or 'P2,' is emblematic of a new, proactive environmental mindset that promises more sustainable industrial management. By targeting the causes, rather than the consequences, of polluting activity, P2 seeks to eliminate pollutants at their source and thereby avoid the need to treat or dispose of those pollutants later. The P2...

"The Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) of the IPCC Working Group III provides an assessment and thorough analysis of renewable energy technologies and their current and potential role in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. The results presented here are based on an extensive assessment of scientific literature...

"In the forty years since the Environmental Protection Agency was established, EPA regulations have imposed enormous costs on the American economy and purchased enormous benefits. Some of the costs and benefits have been in the form of jobs lost and gained—the favorite political metric of economic impact. But many other consequences have been important as well. On the cost side, these include...

"Mr. Chairman, ranking member Green, and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the mistaken belief that environmental protection kills jobs.

No matter how many times this fatally flawed argument is repeated, empirical evidence supporting this assertion is scant and not credible. Instead, the evidence shows that environmental regulations save lives...

"The 12 nations listed in the preamble (below) signed the Antarctic Treaty on 1 December 1959 at Washington, D.C. The Treaty entered into force on 23 June 1961; the 12 signatories became the original 12 consultative nations."

"DAY by day it becomes more evident that the Coal we happily possess in excellent quality and abundance is the mainspring of modern material civilization. As the source of fire, it is the source at once of mechanical motion and of chemical change. Accordingly it is the chief agent in almost every improvement or discovery in the arts which the present age brings forth. It is to us indispensable...

In this lecture, Robert M. Solow discusses natural resources, their exhaustible nature, and the economics relating to this issue.

"We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2 to 4 September 2002, reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development."

"The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as either adjusted and/or amended in London 1990 Copenhagen 1992 Vienna 1995 Montreal 1997 Beijing 1999."

"The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources...

Article 3: "It is agreed that the people of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take fish of every kind on the Grand Bank and on all the other banks of Newfoundland, also in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and at all other places in the sea, where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish. And also that the...

Aristotle, one of the best known Western philosophers, concluded his work on ethics with the statement that he intended to look into "the whole question of the management of a state." The Politics was his effort to do so. He examines the origin and purpose of government, and then discusses Plato's The Republic and other proposed and existing forms of government.

This paper is concerned with those actions of business firms which have harmful effects on others.

Locke's Second Treatise develops his descriptions of the state of nature along with natural law. His work was extremely influential in the founding of America and its Constitution.

"But the doctrine of 'social responsibility' taken seriously would extend the scope of the political mechanism to every human activity. It does not differ in philosophy from the most explicitly collectivist doctrine. It differs only by professing to believe that collectivist ends can be attained without collectivist means. That is why, in my book Capitalism and...

The potential uses of public resources and powers to improve the economic status of economic groups (such as industries and occupations) are analyzed to provide a scheme of the demand for regulation.

"The tragedy of the commons develops in this way. Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of...

F.A. Hayek presents a very thorough analysis on the role of knowledge and infomation in societies, how it is transmitted in various societies and economic systems, how a lack of knowledge ultimately proves to be the downfall of central planning, and other key topics.

"George Stigler’s work on the theory of regulation is one of those rare contributions – rare for the rest of us, though not for him – which force a fundamental change in the way important problems are analyzed. Stigler’s influence will be clear in this article. There is perhaps no more telling evidence of this influence than that its basic motivation was my dissatisfaction with some of Stigler...

"In this paper, I seek to fashion some of the elements of an economic theory of property rights. The paper is organized into three parts. The first part discusses briefly the concept and role of property rights in social systems. The second part offers some guidance for investigating the emergence of property rights. The third part sets forth some principles relevant to the coalescing of...

The full text for the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). Included are the relevant agreements concerning the treatment to all the seas' environments.

Full text of this convention and the resolution.

"Knut Wicksell was an important thinker of the second-generation marginalist school, and here is his detailed commentary on and elaboration of the capital theory of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. It was first published in 1893, but did not appear in English until 1954. But its appearance filled a gap in the history of economic ideas. He further defends the relationship between the natural rate of...

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Education history in America is important to know. ITO traces how education has changed from the colonial period to present day America.
At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral. Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it. If you, like us, believe that...
In the genre of documentaries revealing the problems with public education, "Kids Aren't Cars" focuses on helping us understand how schools are modeled after a factory system and what we need to do to change them. Understandably, treating kids as if they are a product to be manufactured has had detrimental effects on children going through the system and the overall level of education in America...
"Many parents and taxpayers feel helpless because the problems can seem so monumental. 'Kids Aren't Cars' director Kyle Olson reviews what he learned in the filmmaking process and the small things individuals can do that will add up to make a big difference." Here's Kyle being interviewed on a few things you can do and share with friends, family, and educators: Part 1Part 2
We all know Facebook is awesome for keeping up with friends, sharing about your life, and even distributing ideas. One great new way to get people thinking is to take advantage of the new banner profile with the help of Intellectual Takeout. Here's what one of our banners looks like loaded up on a Facebook profile: If you haven't changed your banner profile, than Facebook is likely ...
Tired of business getting a bum rap? We are, too. Here's your chance to share on Facebook the good news that business is good, beautiful, and makes life better.
While many documentaries on the education system focus on various examples of failure, "Flunked" takes a bit different tack. While certainly acknowledging and exposing the failures of the system, "Flunked" also seeks out individuals and approaches that ARE working in education. The hope is that these points of hope may serve as examples for others working in education.  Here's the trailer:...
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about. Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally. But with the vast amounts of information...

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Looking for an internship? If so, Intellectual Takeout has an opportunity for you. We have plenty of work to do as well as ideas to spread, and we need your help to get it done. If you're interested in an internship with Intellectual Takeout, you likely share our passion and you're excited about the possibility of working for a great cause. That said, you might have a few questions about what "...
The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.
Are you concerned your child isn't getting the education necessary to compete in the global economy or even, perhaps, to carry on the lessons and learning of Western Civilization? If so, you have a number of choices. You could, of course, consider changing schools to a charter school, private school, or even homeschooling. If that's overwhelming for you right now, you can always supplement your...
Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Sure, the idea of homeschooling is likely overwhelming. Indeed, homeschooling is a big commitment and a lot of work. That said, there's a reason why more and more parents are turning to homeschooling as the best option for their child(ren)'s education(s). Perhaps you are starting to realize that the public school system has changed a lot since you last attended it. Maybe you can't afford private...
Know your rights with Flex Your Rights guide to the "10 Rules for Dealing with Police."
In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.  There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
Watch "Waiting for Superman" to learn about the problems with the public education system.
Another movie that tells the story of the failing public school model in the United States is “The Lottery”. It takes its own unique look at the systems by focusing on the use of lotteries to choose which children will be plucked from failing public schools and put into more successful public charter schools. Here’s the trailer:  You can watch the whole movie right now with the help of Hulu...
While there are a variety of really good documentaries about the failing public school systems in America, "The Cartel" stands alone in its frontal assault on the teacher unions, particularly those in New Jersey. If you'd like to get an inside look into how some teacher unions operate and the effects they have on education, you'll want to watch "The Cartel."From the movie's website: "This movie...
How often do you hear conservatives being called a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals? Here's the reality: Conservatism, classical liberalism, and libertarianism have a rich, intellectual heritage reaching back many millennia. Our ideas are not just some historical relics from bygone eras; they are the very foundation of Western Civilization in general, amd the United States in particular....
Sadly (or happily for some), life goes on after college. So does the fight for freedom. Building friendships, networking, and growing the movement is critical after college. If our ideas are to be preserved and promoted, you need to stay involved. Plus, in a time when the individual seems to be ever more isolated and adrift, these groups can help plug you into social networks you can use....
Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
A great way to make a difference on your campus by spreading the ideas of individual rights, limited government, and free markets is to tutor. Plus, you can occasionally make a little bit of money. Depending on the subject matter, you will be discussing a variety of ideas, key thinkers, and theories. As anyone who has tutored knows, there are almost always opportunities to expand upon a topic....

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We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
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The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is CampusReform.org. Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...

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