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Krugman vs. the Libertarians on Phosphorus, Freedom, and Environmental Economics

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 16:09
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Paul Krugman is at it again with a stunningly ignorant NYT op-ed on libertarians and the environment, “Phosphorus and Freedom.” As the author of a book on the libertarian perspective on environmental policy, I would like to respond.

Phosphorus comes into the picture in the form of agricultural runoff that pollutes Lake Erie, recently making the Toledo water supply temporarily undrinkable. Krugman blames this kind of thing on libertarians, who, he says, endorse an idea of freedom that includes the freedom to pollute one’s neighbor’s water supply.

Sadly, Krugman’s knowledge of the libertarian position on environmental economics seems to be limited to what he hears on talk radio and what he reads on conservative web sites like Red State. That is problem No. 1: Krugman pretends not to understand the difference between conservatism and libertarianism. He should start by reading Friedrich Hayek’s classic essay “Why I am Not a Conservative,” but maybe he can’t tear himself away from Red State.

According to Krugman, libertarians believe that “anyone who worries about the environment is engaged in scare tactics to further a big-government agenda.” In truth, real libertarians care very much about environmental issues. They just see them through a different lens than Krugman does. >>>Read more



Source: http://dolanecon.blogspot.com/2014/08/krugman-vs-libertarians-on-phosphorus.html

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