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Endangered EconomiesHow the Neglect of Nature Threatens Our Prosperity$
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Geoffrey Heal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231180849

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231180849.001.0001

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Everyone’s Property is No One’s Property

Everyone’s Property is No One’s Property

(p.85) 6 Everyone’s Property is No One’s Property
Endangered Economies

Geoffrey Heal

Columbia University Press

Much natural capital is common property – owned by no one. Important examples are water and fish. Such property is generally greatly overused – the lamentable histories of the American bison and the passenger pigeon illustrate the power of this tendency. Commercially valuable fish are today going through the same process. But there are ways of avoiding this, by establishing property rights or in other ways limiting access and usage. Such mechanisms have worked well for some fisheries and some aquifers, but fishing on the high seas is still out of control.

Keywords:   water resources, bison, fisheries, common property, passenger pigeon, by-catch, transferable quota, total allowable catch, aquifer, hot oil

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