Senior Fellow Randy T. Simmons, co-editor of Aquanomics, looks at the battles over water in the western United States. Thirsty citizens of growing cities, farmers, factories and environmentalists are in a fight for a natural resource that is priced arbitrarily. Its value is determined not by the free market, but by bureaucrats. Outdated government reclamation projects and water policies have put residents of the Golden State at the mercy of the weather, and of government's mandatory regulations.
From fingerprinting to criminal sentencing, from lawyer licensing to judicial selection, and from eminent domain to wealth transfers via class-action lawsuits, how do perverse incentives impact the law and what reforms would create a more just and efficient legal system?
Independent Institute Research Fellow Edward Lopéz, Associate Professor of Law and Economics at San Jose State University and editor of the new Institute book The Pursuit of Justice, talks with Institute President David Theroux about the faulty incentives at the heart of government legal failures and whether market-based alternatives can provide viable solutions to the serious problems caused by the bureaucratization and politicization of the law.
Environmental quality has been a major public concern since the first Earth Day in 1970, yet the maze of environmental regulations enacted since has fostered huge government bureaucracies better known for waste and failure than for innovation and success.