Property rights: means or ends?
Problems concerning the allocation and use of natural resources are increasingly being described in terms of the property right relations that apply to those resources, with changes to property rights proposed as solutions. This project argues that such proposals do not take sufficient account of the role of property rights and other institutions or the actual means by which institutions are established or altered. Selection of property institutions depends on ethical, not technical judgements, and these judgements are considered inappropriate for analysts and advisors to make. It is argued instead, that the structure of property rights should be responsive to the democratically expressed choice of society. The analyst’s role, therefore, is to assist the public to assess the impact of property right changes on the realisation of accepted social objectives. Efficiency is not considered to be an appropriate social objective unless further qualified.... [Show full abstract]