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2014-10-14 | video

Environmental Policy Lecture 8b part 2

Policy Instruments Lecture 8b extra part 2

In a not so technical lecture Professor Sterner discusses the topic of Property rights and the ”Tragedy of the Commons”, an expression founded in 1968 by Garrett Hardin claiming that where there are free access to some resource people will try to reap of as much as possible from it for their personal gain, until the resource collapses. 

In part 2 Sterner continues to discuss water rights, giving the Spanish example. He then discusses the rights of squatters, which is an expression for people who occupy buildings/houses to live there. In England and more countries squatters actually have the right to stay in the occupied houses as long as they haven´t broken in. The class discusses the moral issue of such a rule and such actions.

Sterner discussed the enclosure of the commons. Where the British example shows how this enclosing/taking of common properties was done by people growing hedges and thus claiming a certain land and then started using it. Mainly this was a right given only to Lords .

He also discusses the aspect of nuisances, which are negative externalities that neighbors might have on your property, as for example a huge pig farm emitting bad smell next to a summer house or a noisy industry.

Returning to Common property resource management mentioned in part 1 and to Elinor Ostrom who tried to illustrate successful examples. Sterner shows how villages in southern Spain have managed common water resources without involving the government since early 15th century. Finally he goes through the prisoner´s dilemma and its relevance when considering the problem of open access resources.