Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Disaster of the Gulf Oil Leak

By Diana Hsieh

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

I've love to write up some substantive commentary on the BP oil spill in the Gulf, but I'm sure that I won't have time. So I must content myself with a few quick points, plus some links:

  • The oil spill is clearly a horrid disaster for mankind and our environment, including for our marine food supply, recreation, science, and more. I can only hope that the leak is plugged, and soon. That will require serious money, determination, and ingenuity -- not more grandstanding from politicians, activists, and the media. I hope that BP has what it takes to do the job, but I worry they don't.

    "Plug the Damn Hole!" by Tom Bowden of ARC
    Obama's Metaphysical Frustration by Doug Reich
    A Quick Thought on this Oil Spill and Extraordinarily Callous by Trey Givens

  • If BP was negligent, then it ought to pay for the cleanup in its entirety, even if that means the company goes bankrupt. I suspect it will, given the vast damage done. Our government might subsidize BP or limit its liability, but I hope not. (Or rather, I hope that's not already the case.) That would be a horrible injustice.

    BP Would Be Toast in a Truly Free Market by Kevin Carson

  • Environmentalists like to blame oil companies for such disasters, then call for further regulations on industry. Yet such disasters are the product of existing regulations that prevent oil companies from drilling in perfectly safe areas, including on land. People who want to prevent these kinds of disasters in the future should advocate for the repeal of environmental regulations in favor of strict adherence to property rights and tort law.

    Environmentalism is Responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill by Jason Stotts
    The Offshore Drilling Controversy: Remember Santa Barbara by Alex Epstein of ARC

  • The oceans should be homesteaded as private property by the people and companies that create value from them. As with all private property, owners would have a strong incentive to maintain the value of the property. In some cases, that would mean protecting access for drilling or mining. In others, that would mean making the property useful for recreation, such as fishing, snorkeling, or sailing. In others, that would mean protecting and enhancing the value of the marine life for food or even study. Such homesteading might not have prevented this disaster, but it's necessary to preserve and protect the value of the oceans in the long run.

    Deep-Six the Law of the Sea by Thomas Bowden of ARC
For right now, I just hope the leak can be sealed off safely and effectively.

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