Thursday, April 24, 2008

On this day

in 1932, a mass trespass by thousands of ramblers took place on Kinder Scout in the Peak District. Their aim was to establish public right of access on the moors and mountains that were privately owned for grouse shooting.

A very noble cause that suffered the law of unintended consequences as Tim Worstall explains here:

It is perhaps ironic then that the birthplace of the rambling revolution is falling victim to the ramblers themselves. Millions of footfalls have contributed to such horrific erosion that conservationists are now fighting a desperate battle to save this iconic spot

So that's the consequence of a free for all policy, also known as the Tragedy of the Commons. As Tim Says:
Put simply, open access to a resource is just fine. Marxian access, as it is called, works wonderfully:people who need something, like a bracing walk over the peat, can do so and there's no problem at all. Until, until, a certain point is reached. That point being when demand for the resource outstrips the supply of the resource. Now here we're only talking about horny handed sons of toil going all Fotherington-Thomas on us and uttering kagouled "Hullo clouds, Hullo sky"s as they bunk off making whippet flanges but exactly the same problem is behind most environmental problems, fisheries, pollution, climate change and so on.

Do go and read the whole piece, it's a very intersting.

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