Monday, October 1, 2012

Get off my land!

The right to restrict trespass and influence is fine and logically necessary but perhaps it can be taken a bit far.
Within a sound system of property law owners should certainly have the right to restrict access and use, but perhaps that is not an optimal route.

In Rothbard's piece on Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution. He suggests that in many cases a Lockean easement would be gained if the polluter had established a precedent of polluting an area, and when a new polluter joined the mix as long as they did not overtly act in aggression towards another's property rights there would be no cause for legal discourse. Although a potential system of voluntary or state tort law seems like an optimal solution, but it ignores the issue that real solutions are needed.

All externalities, results of actions outside of the intended consequence, are forms of waste. Think about it; one intends to convey a message, in a perfectly efficient system upon the creation of this intention its meaning would be understood by its' benefactor. But that is hardly the case. Wars are fought to convey meaning, great literary works are written, noise is generated, paper is used. This may seem like the organizational structure of reality, but it is not.

Efficiency is minimization of externalities. The amount of effort and structure needed to convey desire or express emotion shrinks with the growth of society and knowledge. The use of Lockean property rights and avenues such as torts are really only tool for people that do not want to talk with each-other. When air pollution is present that is a sign that an engine is running poorly, potential energy is being wasted. When an individual trespasses on another's land that is a sign.

Why does aggression against property occur? Sure it can be because people are violent and greedy but sometimes it simply occurs out of necessity. When someone frequently walks though private land during their commute it must be because this route is efficient. It is not likely that it would be efficient to travel through say a garden or home but an unused area will be quite attractive to the expeditious commuter. What needs to happen here rather than a fee or fence is a voluntary and amicable agreement. perhaps the land owner would appreciate some exchange in order to allow the commuter trespass. Perhaps the air polluter will benefit form the knowledge of a more efficient power system. If the cost of polluted air really is so high, both to the environment and the producer, it is in societies best interest to solve the issue. It is of course preferable that any solution be non-violent and efficient.

Rights are whatever are agreed upon between individuals, mutual benefit and exchange are the primary path to wealth creation. Rather than worrying about methods to keep your neighbor in check, you should lead by example, educate, don't aggress, behave in a manner you would like to see the world behave.

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