… is from page 35 of Richard Stroup’s 2003 book, Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know About Economics and the Environment :
In a sense, the [market] value of a resource is a hostage that ensures protection and good management by the owner. This value gives the owner an incentive to maintain the land’s productivity and, where possible, to make investments that improve it. If the land is damaged, its value declines whether the damage occurs through misuse, negligence, trespass, or pollution. If necessary, an owner will go to court against trespasses and polluters to protect the value of the property.
This splendid book by Rick Stroup is one of the texts – along with Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist  – for my class at George Mason University entitled “Economics of Sustainability.” This class’s first meeting will occur this afternoon on GMU’s Fairfax campus. (In addition to these two books, student in the class will also read a large number of articles and essays, including much of the United Nations’s document on sustainability, “Our Common Future.” Here’s Chapter 2  of that document.)