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How would Libertarians handle pollution?


DP Veteran
Jul 19, 2005
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I have always wondered this.

When it comes down to it, citziens either need to vote with their dollars (will NOT happen in this case), or the government has to step in to regulate pollution.

I feel that the gov needs to do because its just essential, but they should be hands off otherwise.

Whats a libertarian thought on pollution control?
They'd argue to deregulate it and let the magic weapon of Capitalism--the Invisible Hand(TM)--endeavour to solve the problem. While this metaphysical device does its work, we die of pollution inhalation and groggy water. :lol: The hand worketh its magic in mysterious ways, sayth our Lord Smith.

The only way a libertarian would deal with pollution is if it made him a profit or out of the goodness of his heart. (The latter is highly unlikely). If the former criterion is not met, you might as well don a filter-attachment.
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A hardcore libertarian would be against any government regulation of industry. And if the pollution bothers you and your neighbors, you can all chip in to clean it up and/or sue the company who casued the pollution.

In my opinion this view doesn't make any sense, because why should *I* have to pay to clean up someone else's mess? Why should *I* have to be able to prove that it was Company A's smog, not Company B's smog, that gave me lung cancer?

I generally consider myself a libertarian, but this is one issue where I part company with them. The government does have a role in correcting market failures, in my opinion, and pollution is a prime example of this. If a company pollutes excessively, they should have to pay to clean it up. Period.
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