TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Why have private property when the air and water is not or cannot be privately owned?

Many of our environmental problems stem from 'the tragedy of the commons.' Air blows and water runs so how can we privatize it? Should we try? How might that work?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jan 21 2013: It sounds like a question....???
    Water is on way to be "privatized" in some place , soon air will be , no worry ....

    By the way
    Do you think privatization of Air & Water will resolve environmental problems?
    • Jan 21 2013: Yes it is a question. I dont know why I put it in ideas honestly. I have to ask how is water being privatised? Do you know any details? And when I say privatise water I am refering to bodies of water not city water supply. As for your question, I do not have a definite answer in part because I do not know how you could set it up. What I muster is the government essentially owns navigable rivers because they are free for anybody to cruise. So what's the water quality of our rivers and lakes? Well much better since the Clean Water Act but I still wouldn't eat anything out of the big muddy. Now if there is an incentive to improve the water quality for economic gain then a private owner could sue the polluter that dirties his waters. There is not much to gain economically from polluted water. The government has no incentives. But I would like to hear other peoples thoughts because I know that privatising everything isn't an environmental godsend.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.