This article lists the 10 worst EPA super-fund sites of all time. When we consider the problem of pollution and other, what economists call, neighborhood effects most people only picture the polluter. Maybe a big company pumping toxic fumes out of a smoke stack or dumping industrial waste into a river. Rick Kelo points out though that we also need to look at why this pollution happened in the first place.
Rick Kelo noticed a trend hidden in the list of 10 worst super-fund list and asked why every single item on that list has to do with water or air pollution? An aspect of pollution we almost never consider. “In America where are the problematic instances of pollution? It is not mainly on land, where there are strict private property rights. The problematic issues of pollution occur predominantly (to the point of almost exclusively) in the air & water, which are government owned and where private property rights are outlawed,” says Kelo. “The reason is what’s called Tragedy of the Commons,” he continues.
Under a regime of incredibly strict property rights pollution could not happen, and certainly not to tne extent of the sites we see here. The reason it happens, as Richard Kelo points out, is precisely because we have your system of regulations that shift the burden of acting as an owner onto the government.