Privatization of Public Lands
Research papers in public administration often look at the quandary of the privatization of public lands. This is a heated debate and our writers can clarify the issues for you in a custom written research paper.
The question of the privatization of public lands is, at its heart, a big government/small government question. Should the government be in the business of owning and managing land for the public good, and at public expense, or would this role be better handled by individuals, companies and non-profit organizations? The advocates of a larger role for government see land as a public trust, and believe that the government is best able to protect and promote what some view as our national heritage.
Libertarians, on the other hand, see the ownership and management of land as a matter best left in private hands. Public lands were created under the assumption that the marketplace was incompatible with "the preservation of such environmental and recreational amenities as our national parks and that government ownership is therefore required."
By definition, the goal of capitalism, and therefore of private land management and ownership, is the maximization of profits. Although environmental protection is not necessarily incompatible with profit maximization, the two do not necessarily go together either because of the following:
- If profit maximization automatically entailed environmental protection, the raft of federal, state and local laws protecting the environment probably would not be necessary.
- Economic incentives should, in and of themselves, would be enough to protect the environment.
- Laws protecting the environment have proven necessary, and a huge federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, was created to oversee efforts to protect the environment.
- Furthermore, to the extent that environmental protection contributes to the maximization of profits, it tends to do so only in the long run.
If keeping a recreational facility pristine makes financial sense, it tends to make more sense in the long run than in the short run. Frequently, environmental degradation does not become apparent immediately, and might not seriously impact recreational use for years.