I literally yelped in pain (as if someone punched me in the gut) when I read Tim Bearly’s line in his “The False Profit Motive” that read “Individualism will fail whenever there is money involved. We need a collectivist approach when it comes to the health of our planet.”
This is completely, 100-percent false, and this vile rhetoric is doing the opposite of what he imagines. Allow me to explain why this preposterous statement is false and why collectivism is actually the reason for all the environmental problems we face.
The reason large crony corporate interests are allowed to pollute so much is because of things like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, which are enforced via government (collectivist) violence, not individuals protecting their property rights. Before these acts were passed externalities — for example a smelter tainting Newport’s water supply — were settled via tort in the same way trespassing cases were.
So, if HiTech’s smelter taints my water, I sue them directly, as an individual, and they have to reimburse me or fix the problem. This gets them to internalize their externalities. The very people who polluted the most lobbied for the “Clean Water Act” because they said it was too restrictive on industries and the economy could not grow via the tort system of respecting private property. These evil acts allowed caps on the amounts of pollution, “reasonable amounts”, yet stripped the power of individuals who are actually affected by these externalities. Imagine if HiTech or whoever else owned not only the land, but also a stake in the water quality and air in the region. They would be much more inclined to care for it because if they ever needed to sell it one day, a polluted watershed would be for much less profit.
Collectivism, AKA, “Our collective mother nature” is precisely what allows companies to use the collectivist’s dream institution (government) to enforce their preferences for pumping pollution into the environment at no cost. These companies are putting tons of money into politician’s hands to get this special treatment that allow them to never pay for any of the pollution they create.
Collectivism is the cause for environmental problems, and private property and profits are the cure.