This lack of well-defined and enforced property rights is the root cause of virtually all environmental problems. But upon closer examination, it does not adequately explain the demise of the bison during this period. In a recent academic article, published in the Independent Review, I offer an alternative explanation: the bison were slaughtered not because of a lack of property rights to them, but because there was a higher-valued use of the land on which their massive herds thundered.
People who think, work, create, invest, plan, and carry out productive projects make the world work. People who collect taxes, create mountains of unnecessary regulations, threatening violence against those who fail to comply with them, and devote vast amounts of extorted resources to wreaking senseless death and destruction at home and abroad also make the world work—but much, much for the worse.