Course DescriptionThe seminar takes up a number of hot button issues from all over the world, where property rights intersect with issues of the environment and social justice. We start with some basics about property and the classic tragedy of the commons, using some examples and asking whether well-structured property rights might (or might not) contribute to overcoming environmental degradation as well as to long-term poverty. We then move through some specific issues of property-rights approaches where environmental and social issues overlap. Time permitting, these will include:
- land rights for squatters in less developed countries (primarily Latin America, Africa); - land reform and development projects (primarily less developed countries);
- wildlife and fisheries management (global)
- water management (US, India, Latin America);
- tradable pollution rights (US);
- carbon trading schemes (particularly for tropical forest maintenance)(global, tropical areas);
- free market environmentalism and private land use restrictions (conservationist or exclusionary?) (U.S. & global); and
- indigenous land claims and claims to intellectual property (global).
The seminar will be based on readings for each class, class discussion, and a takehome exam at the end, probably a commentary on a short article about a current issue. With permission of the instructor, a short paper may substitute for the takehome exam.