John Baden: Preserving America's Wild Lands When Governments are Broke & Broken
On Nov. 18, 2013, John A. Baden, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Research on Econoimcs and the Environment (FREE) and one of the most esteemed and sought-after experts in the field of free-market environmentalism, spoke at the Heartland Institute.
Before his talk, Baden sent us a preview of his remarks, which we share below:
"I begin with this cheerful observation: As a nation grows wealthy and well educated, environmental sensitivities increase. Hence, citizens demand and expect a safer, more pleasing environment. The questions involve designing various institutional arrangements to achieve it.
"Unlike in the Progressive Era, today there isn't one simple, generally accepted recipe. There will be experiments as individuals and communities seek alternatives to the Platonic guardian, command-and-control overseers promoted by elites throughout the early 1900s. National parks are one of America's best innovations and federal management of them was probably appropriate for their first century.
"The discretionary portion of the federal budget is increasingly stressed. Concurrently, faith in the competence and integrity of Congress and federal agencies diminishes. Given these and other changes, America would benefit from innovative institutional arrangements to protect and manage national parks and wild lands. Building these new institutional arrangements requires innovative organizations.
"And this implies institutional entrepreneurship. We have a solid base of experience on which to build, for example various fiduciary trusts. I believe fiduciary trusts may become attractive arrangements for managing parks and wild lands."
About the speaker:
John A. Baden is founder and chairman of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), and Gallatin Writers, Inc. FREE's focus is environmental economics and policy analysis. Gallatin works with writers of the West. Both are 501 (c)(3) organizations with a shared office in Bozeman, Montana.
Dr. Baden received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1969 and then was awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in environmental policy. Dr. Baden was a leader in developing the New Resource Economics, an incentive-based approach to environmental and natural resource management. He has held endowed professorships, received teaching awards, and is the author or contributing editor of seven books and numerous articles on energy and natural resources.
He is an occasional contributor to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page and publishes a column in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Dr. Baden is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society, has served two terms on the National Petroleum Council, and has served as President of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He was co-founder of the Environmental Management M.B.A. program at the University of Washington.
Dr. Baden and his wife, Professor Ramona Marotz-Baden, both bicyclists, own and operate a ranch in the Gallatin Valley of Montana.
There is no video of this presentation, but a podcast link will be available soon.