How I Became a Free-Market Environmentalist in France

By Max Falque.

The managing director of ICREI, the International Center for Research on Environmental Issues, Max Falque is based in Aix-en-Provence, France. He tells the story of how he changed from a French bureaucrat to a proponent of environmental protection using private property and markets.  From his essay, “Why Did I Become a Free-Market Environmentalist?” in I Chose Liberty, edited by Walter Block.

Based on my family background, I should still worship central government and “service public,” like the great majority of French. My family shared two traditions: on my father’s side, conservative provincial and provençal bourgeoisie engaged in farming a family estate since the 16th century, and on my mother’s side, the value of the liberal, intellectual, Catholic beliefs. But everybody agreed about the sanctity of bureaucracy. Studying law at the Montpellier University in the 50s could not introduce me to classic liberal thinking, since the clear distinction between civil and administrative law was (and still is) a basic fact. In economics classes, references to Keynes and Samuelson left no room for unknown Austrian economics. The Communist party used to get nearly 30 percent at the general elections, and most “intellectuals” were at least fellow travelers or useful idiots, if not true believers.


The concept of free market environmentalism (FME) came as a revelation to me when meeting R.J. Smith at a Lincoln Institute conference at Harvard in July 1983. R.J., in a plenary session, briefly explained that land could be best managed by property rights and market instruments. Ann Louise Strong, as chair of the panel, dryly answered that this was outdated and inappropriate thinking. I felt sorry for R.J. and I invited him to discuss the issue at a neighboring pub. It was quite a fascinating evening and, back in France, R.J. sent me his recently published article, “Privatizing the Environment” (Policy Review, 1982). I was then introduced progressively to the FME literature and scholars. Continue reading “How I Became a Free-Market Environmentalist in France”

Air Pollution, Sea Rise, and Virginia’s ‘Clean Economy Act’

Continue reading “Air Pollution, Sea Rise, and Virginia’s ‘Clean Economy Act’”

Extreme Protests, Coronavirus, and Recycling…

Extinction Rebellion plans ‘extreme’ protests for next November’s climate summit in Glasgow. – ||

Why does the coronavirus, thankfully, spare children? – ||

New York City could mandate drastic ‘organics’ recycling. – ||

‘Batteries are great. But we still need petroleum.’ – ||

Continue reading “Extreme Protests, Coronavirus, and Recycling…”

Green Opposition to Pesticides Keeps Locust Plagues Alive

Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute:


As billions of desert locusts swarm through East Africa and into Asia threatening the food supply of millions, environmental activists want to ban and regulate the only effective tools to stop it: pesticides.

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Activist campaigns to ban pesticides around the world mean the many effective products to combat the locust invasion are no longer available. In addition, increased regulations make development of new products less profitable and leave too few options for fighting locusts and other serious crop-damaging pests.

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Currently, aerial and ground-level spraying with organophosphates, particularly a product called fenitrothion, is the main, if not only, line of defense against the locusts. Yet Greenpeace and African environmental groups funded by the European Union are pressing for the elimination of this last line of defense.