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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Followup: Libertarian-Green Tax Reform Alliance

In the comments on the Libertarian-Green Tax Reform Alliance thread, Matthew supports in principle the use of "green taxes" as a mechanism for forcing polluters to internalize costs, but raises the question of how the value of pollution damage can be assessed.

One partial answer is Bill Green's: front-load the process. Pollution is itself an externality of subsidized resource consumption. By charging fees for the use of natural resources in the first place, we can encourage producers to use them economically, and thus minimize pollution at the same time. The pricing issue is settled, in the case of renewable resources like aquifers, woodland, etc., by auctioning off permits based on the sustainable yield.

Another possible answer is civil liability, imposed by local juries, as a pollution "tax." Here's an interesting link to Elizabeth Brubaker's Property Rights in the Defense of Nature, which Terry Burgess of the LeftLibertarian yahoogroup directed me to. The book is online at the Environment Probe website. Enviroment Probe emphasizes "putting... market mechanisms to work for the environment."

Central to its work is the promotion of property rights and decentralized decision making to empower individuals and communities to protect natural resources. It is also a sharp critic of subsidies to resource industries.

Green Scissors is also a group worth looking into; they're dedicated to eliminating subsidies and preferential tax breaks for the consumption of resources.


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