Home > Uncategorized > Who’s at the short end of the stick when Government "Play[s] Fast and Loose with Civilization" in the Gulf of Mexico?

Who’s at the short end of the stick when Government "Play[s] Fast and Loose with Civilization" in the Gulf of Mexico?

Another BP post! [links updated] I have just stumbled across  by Jeffrey Tucker’s May 27, 2010 post on the Mises Economics Blog regarding the Obama administration’s decision, in response to the BP mess in the Gulf, to suspend consideration of applications to drill in the Arctic.

1.  I was inspired to leave a few comments, which I copy here [a link or two added; my apologies for the bolding, but I’ve been out-witted by the html]:

TokyoTom June 8, 2010 at 5:14 am

“But what strikes me as just how willy nilly the state acts toward the goods and services that fuel civilization itself.” “rarely been more obvious, day to day, that the machinery of the state, while pretending to be the caretaker of mother earth, only destroys hope for real human beings.”

Jeffrey, how true – but how ironic and sad that, like Lew, you only look at the potential impact on US consumers (and businesses) of Obama’s (much, much, MUCH delayed) action to suspend consideration of applications to drill in the Arctic (and now elsewhere on the OCS), but ignore the PRESENT and very real impact of incompetent and corrupt government management on all of the people who live in, on and draw their LIVELIHOODS from the Gulf of Mexico commons that are now being despoiled by the BP spill. I mean, aren’t losses to fishermen and others in the Gulf region staring us in the face?

See, e.g., the reports here on marginalized fishermen http://twitter.com/Tokyo_Tom/status/15689063688 http://twitter.com/Tokyo_Tom/status/15689222932And it’s a shame that, rather than float ideas on how to end the Tragedy of the Government-Owned/-Managed Commons – such as expanding fishermen’s rights to manage Gulf resources – you see fit to suggest that the real solution lies in more Avatar-like Drill, Baby, Drill! resource exploitation under the current and obviously flawed rules. As for the rest of you, generally my disappointment with shallow, partisan thinking continues. Perhaps a cut and paste from a recent post will serve? http://tokyotom.freecapitalists.org/2010/06/04/bp-39-oil-spills-inconvenient-quot-ecosystems-quot-reason-tv-rants-quot-dying-oceans-quot/

I continue to scratch my head on the knee-jerk reactions by Austrian-libertarians on problems regarding management of common resources: are not our physical and electronic communities commons? Don’t commons support many people directly, and us all indirectly? Aren’t there huge and obvious commons-related problems that stem from government ownership and “management” of resources – be they federal lands, the seas, our fiat currency, or our financial institutions and publicly-listed companies? Don’t we all know that government gets in the way, frustrating the ability of people with differing preferences to search for and reach mutual accommodations, and instead putting them at loggerheads in zero-sum situations? The unbecoming reflexive hostility indicates that even those who think they have their thinking caps on cannot see past the partisan conflict that government itself generates. Kind regards, your resident Austrian misanthrope, Tom

2. For those who want to put their thinking caps on, I note that I have a number of posts on managing commons resources – see my posts on Nobel-Prizewinner Elinor Ostrom for starts – and on fisheries and on federally-owned oil and gas resources like the OCS and ANWR. They might provide a little grist for the mill.

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