Sunday 29 December 2002

The fishing crisis

In a letter to the Sunday Herald, Martin Morrison writes:
The Scottish fishing industry is as good an example as any of the damage that is caused by unfettered free enterprise
But the fishing industry has little to do with "free enterprise". Any over-fishing in the North Sea is the result of a lack of property rights, without which there can be no free enterprise. The Icelandic Government has gone some way to resolving the problem in its waters.

Ian Bell's article on fishing also contains a dig at capitalism:

As the magi of the free market right continue to tell us that Scotland's long industrial decline has everything to do with red tape and nothing to do with woeful leadership, more communities will be picked off.
Red tape is certainly a major problem, even if not acknowledged by Mr Bell, but the absence of property rights is just as important.