The Government Trap

From the NY Times via Maggies Farm:

The rescue of the
Florida Everglades, the largest and most expensive environmental
restoration project on the planet, is faltering.

Seven years into
what was supposed to be a four-decade, $8 billion effort to reverse
generations of destruction, federal financing has slowed to a trickle.
Projects are already years behind schedule. Thousands of acres of
wetlands and wildlife habitat continue to disappear, paved by
developers or blasted by rock miners to feed the hungry construction

The idea that the federal government could summon the
will and money to restore the subtle, sodden grandeur of the so-called
River of Grass is disappearing, too.

If, forty years ago, individuals who cared about the Everglades had banded together with private money, they could have bought up and preserved huge tracts of land around the current National Park.  Instead, as so many activists do today, rather than trying to rally private action they lobbied the government to do something about it.  Once the ball was thrown into the Feds' court, all incentive for private action disappeared, and as is so often the case, the Feds bungled their way $8 billion to little effect.


  1. Bearster:

    I agree that private citizens generally do things better than the government. However, there is one thing that private action cannot do.

    Waste resources on a large scale.

    Buying land for the express purpose of keeping it from being used for any productive purpose is wasting the money used to buy it, and wasting the land for the whole duration.

    If government can't do this, then no one can!

  2. Xmas:


    You're making a mistake here. The private entitities that owned the preserved wet land can use that land for a multitude of purposes.

    There are a number of non-profit land trusts around the US with similar goals (preserving wild lands).

    PS. Coyote, your link at the start of the post is br0ken.

  3. biil-tb:

    I live right next to the Everglades, we would be far better off to just leave it alone now. Back when channelization was big, swamps had no use and needed to only be drained.

  4. Josh:

    The article link is broken.

  5. Bearster:

    xmas: if those private owners wanted to do the same things as potential new owners would want to do, then they are not "protecting" the land. Conversely, if they try to keep it from being used in the most productive way, and instead want to make a "park" that no one wants to visit, then they are wasting it.

    My point: private ownership is the lousiest way to waste a resource. If government can't waste it, then it cannot be wasted!