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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7021/the-new-arctic-land-rush-whats-in-it-for-me/

The new Arctic land rush: What’s in it for me?

August 21, 2007 by

OK, melting ice and potential oil in the Arctic have brought out the worst in neighboring governments. (U.S. expedition mapping the Arctic) But, I have to ask, “What’s in it for me?”

There are three possible outcomes: ownership of the oil-rich land is given to me (highly unlikely); it’s given to another individual, or group of individuals, who will trade with me (again, highly unlikely, based on the number of military vessels in the region); one of the posturing governments gains control of the land and claims and enforces its sovereignty (the likely scenario).

Since the first two possibilities are chasings after a rainbow, I am left with oil in the hands of government. The actual government means little to me; I don’t even care if the US somehow exerts control and wins this land rush in international courts.

Oil, or any mineral for that matter, in the hands of government is the worst possible outcome. Why? Because the rules of trade are replaced by the power of the hammer. And, the oil will not be brought to market — or, withheld from market for that matter — based on market-driven factors that lead to efficient utilization. To make matters even worse, the government with title will waste its ill-gotten oil revenue on destructive projects.

There can be no good coming from a government title to the Arctic oilfields. These fields will be tapped and drained at the whim of rent-seekers, bureaucrats, and the elected bozos, not based on the wants of consumers.

Do I really care which political entity claims rights to this oil? Not in the least. Though, I am saddened to know that this discovery will not fully benefit acting individuals, in the short-run, or long-run.

{ 8 comments }

Graham Nickols August 22, 2007 at 1:06 am

Dear!, dear!, dear!
State education?
The word is ARCTIC, not ARTIC

Jim August 22, 2007 at 6:09 am

Yes. 12 long years of state education. Fixed it. Thanks :-)

kentek August 22, 2007 at 10:15 am

As I have said many times before:
“It’s a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.”

Stay strong.

N. Joseph Potts August 22, 2007 at 2:28 pm

If Congress in its infinite wisdom voted to divide up the land 465 ways, with each member privately owning a specific parcel, we’d be better off than if the government came away owning it.

Here, “we” does not just mean Americans. It means EVERYONE (on earth). And the formula is quite independent (except for the 465) of which government and which Congress.

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