Libertarianism and Pollution

Matt Zwolinski

Abstract


Libertarians are strong defenders of the rights of person and property against trespass or invasion.  Taken to its logical conclusion, the libertarian position would insist on the elimination of pollution since it involves the invasion of one person -- through effluents or emissions -- on another.  Yet to eliminate all pollution would be to bring the economy to a screeching halt.  Libertarians have struggled with the question of how much pollution should be thought acceptable and why.

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Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly
Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy
George Mason University
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