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The Right of Nonuse$
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Jan G. Laitos

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386066

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386066.001.0001

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Defining Natural Resource Use and Nonuse

Defining Natural Resource Use and Nonuse

(p.9) 2 Defining Natural Resource Use and Nonuse
The Right of Nonuse

Jan G. Laitos

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a description of natural resource use and nonuse values. All natural resources consist of both a use and nonuse component. The use dimension in turn is divided into two classes: direct use and indirect use. The discussion then turns to the four distinct “eras” of resource use and nonuse. The first of these eras, the Age of Human Survival, occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch. The second era ran from the time human populations organized themselves into complex societies until the eighteenth century’s decentralized free market emerged as the chief resource-production-allocating mechanism. In Era III, from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, the concept of a property right in a resource allowed owners to control fully and exploit the use component of their resources. In Era IV, from the 1950s until the present, human anthropogenic decisions and activities resulted in dramatic reductions in the natural resource base, as well as increasing rates of pollution.

Keywords:   natural resource, direct use, indirect use, nonuse, human survival, property right, pollution

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