Monbiot on libertarianism and ecology

by Milan on January 6, 2012

in Climate change, Economics, Ethics

British journalist George Monbiot has written a good explanation of why the political philosophy of libertarianism is undermined by the reality of the ecological interdependence of all people:

The owners of coal-burning power stations in the UK have not obtained the consent of everyone who owns a lake or a forest in Sweden to deposit acid rain there. So their emissions, in the libertarian worldview, should be regarded as a form of trespass on the property of Swedish landowners. Nor have they received the consent of the people of this country to allow mercury and other heavy metals to enter our bloodstreams, which means that they are intruding upon our property in the form of our bodies.

Nor have they – or airports, oil companies or car manufacturers – obtained the consent of all those it will affect to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, altering global temperatures and – through rising sea levels, droughts, storms and other impacts – damaging the property of many people.

I have written about this before: The death of libertarianism.

See also: Why conservatives should love carbon taxes

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