Thursday, February 7, 2008

Surfers win! Surfers win!

The California Coastal Commission has voted against the proposed toll road through San Onofre State Park. This is good news. In particular, this is a good example of property rights at the center of the conflict. The State of California and the Coastal Commission could have certainly allowed the road to go through, but the surfers, environmentalists, slow growthers and other concerned citizens raised enough hackles to stop the project. What the opposition groups did, in effect, is assert property rights over the state park and the environment. In this case they were not looking for financial gain from holding the rights. Rather they were looking for other gain (cleaner water, better surf breaks, trout, streams, more parkland to enjoy). These groups were completely uncompensated in the original proposal. Had the Transportation Corridor Agencies been more Coasian in their approach, they would have acted to compensate those who will suffer harm from the road. Such is the danger of not following the Coase theorem.

No comments: