Robert J. Smith introduces the idea of free market environmentalism: an approach to environmental conservation that advocates the private ownership of resources.
Robert J. Smith is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment. Smith also serves as director of the Center for Private Conservation. He coined the term “free‐market environmentalism” in his book, Earth’s Resources: Private Ownership vs. Public Waste (1979).
In this lecture from a Council for a Competitive Economy conference in 1981, Smith talks about the idea of free market environmentalism. He explains that private ownership of resources incentivizes environmental conservation while public ownership encourages what the economist Garrett Hardin referred to as a “tragedy of the commons.”