Restricting the Land Supply
Pointing out this one is going to hurt, because we are now in trade-off territory. When the government sets aside huge tracts of land for national parks, wildernesses, and military bases, the result is less land for other purposes. There is a windfall for those who own the remaining land and other natural resources.
Perhaps, in the interest of environmental preservation, this is worth the cost. I just simply want you to be aware of this trade-off. Overzealous buying up of set aside land for natural or historic preservation is economically regressive.
Not all government land purchases are regressive. Some of the wilderness is used for recreation for The People and as such is neutral or even progressive. But maintaining huge tracts that are inaccessible to all but the most serious hikers is definitely a benefit for the few at the expense of the many.
I personally like the fact that there are some huge land set-asides. The preservation of true wilderness is worth some regressivity. I am willing to pay a price for this benefit when necessary. There are plenty of other opportunities to be progressive.
But there are limits. Some of the proposals by set-aside extremists would be severely regressive, as well as significant intrusions on freedom. So it is important to look for supplements for government land set asides, so we don’t have to go to extremes to preserve biodiversity and to have sufficient wild spaces to play in. Some possible supplements will be given in the environmental chapters.
- Consider the story of Robin Hood in light of this page.