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Property Rights And Sustainability: Toward A New Vision Of Property

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows not only the antagonism between property rights and sustainability responsibilities, but also the common ground between them. The common ground is the generally shared interest in using environmental goods without threatening their continued availability. Environmental law has always had an interest in property rights, and, in fact, owes its very existence to the dark side of property rights–their ecological blindness. The chapter summarizes some of the history of Western property rights and then discusses the response of contemporary environmental jurisprudence. The environmental dimension of property can be traced to the Roman concepts of iusand dominium as the essence of political culture. Today, at the peak and crisis of capitalist industrialism, it is worth recalling the experience of preindustrial Europe. Constitutional reforms in Europe have been far-reaching over the past 10–15 years.

Keywords:environmental law; Europe; property rights; sustainability



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