Oil Spills and Government Regulation

Reason Magazine presents an interesting piece that manages to rather effectively tear down the meme that has been floating around as of late that capitalism and a lack of government regulation leads to worse environmental condition and a slowed response to environmental disasters.

[T]here was a comprehensive study [PDF] of the world’s oil spills between 1986-1996 published in April 2003 by the Joint UNDP/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme. One of its many unsurprising findings was that in the former Soviet Union (FSU), 60 percent of oil spills weren’t even measured for environmental effects. One-party states, oddly enough, are not very responsive to their citizens’ desire for transparency, let alone environmental health.


To sum up: Capitalism does not = “no regulations and no role for the federal government during an environmental catastrophe.” Socialism does not = “better environmental stewardship and quicker clean-up efforts.”

Read the whole thing here.


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