Era III—The Age of Property

Jan G. Laitos

in The Right of Nonuse

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195386066
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949656 | DOI:
Era III—The Age of Property

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This chapter discusses the third era of resource use and nonuse—the Age of Property. Competitive natural resource use, coupled with a rudimentary awareness of suboptimal consumption, ultimately led to a paradigm shift that ushered in a new era, Era III. This era witnessed the rise of legally protected ownership rights to the natural world and the emergence of the Age of Property. Although the idea of property in land and natural resources had been manifested in different European countries for centuries, the practice became firmly embedded as an integral part of successful economies, including the United States, by the nineteenth century. From the early nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century, the concept of a property right in a resource both moderated the effect of the open access tragedies experienced in Era II and allowed the owner to fully exploit the use component of the resource now under the owner's control.

Keywords: resource competition; consumption; ownership property rights

Chapter.  6938 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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