[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: On property rights

> There is a strong case for the argument that environment management
>will matter more and more in the future. It is particularly the poor who
>suffer most from poor environmental management through soil degradation,
>water scarcity, floods, mud-slides, and pollution related diseases.

Yes, this seems to me at least very important,  but perhaps it is a problem
of property rights not being well-defined rather than "environment" in the
Western sense.   Property rights -- who owns what, what is private, what is
public, don't steal or pollute public property etc. -- is a vitally
important subject in India.  It is something taken for granted  in the West
because they have worked on it since John Locke.    Our environment problems
look similar or worse than theirs but that maybe because ours are a function
of a more backward stage of evolution of property rights, especially common
and public property.

For example, by my view, corruption and pollution (e.g. tossing your garbage
or urinating on the road) are the same phenomenon: corruption involves
transforming positively priced public property into private property;
pollution involves transforming negatively priced private property into
public property.    Both arise because there is a fuzzy idea of what is
private and what is public in India.

This relates to infrastructure too:  suppose a village illegally taps into
electricity lines; is it all right if they are using it to light up school
childrens' homework?    But to watch Hindi videos?    Because there is a
fuzzy idea of property, such tapping though illegal is considered to be "all
right", "everyone's doing it", "look at the corruption of those politicians
after all" etc.

This is a posting to India_Policy Discussion list:  debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/