Liberty, Markets and Environmental Values: A Hayekian Defence of Free Market Environmentalism

In recent years the development of ‘free market environmentalism’ has marked a major advance in the relationship between the classical liberal tradition and the challenge to individualist institutions presented by the modern environmental movement. Building on the work of Coase and the New Institutional Economics free market environmentalism has demonstrated that, far from being the inevitable result of market institutions environmental problems are best explained by the absence of these very institutions. Notwithstanding these advances, however, free market environmentalism has failed to have a significant impact on the environmental movement. Indeed, in so far as there has been any reaction to proposals for the extension of private property rights, these have tended to be hostile.

Published in: The Independent Review
2003 Vol.10, No.1 Pages 39-56