Lessons in Sustainability from the Murray–Darling Basin
Edited by John Quiggin, Thilak Mallawaarachchi and Sarah Chambers
Chapter 9: Informing Tough Trade-offs in the Murray–Darling Basin
Jeff Bennett INTRODUCTION The harsh reality of life that we all (eventually) face as we grow up is that – in the words of the Rolling Stones – ‘you can’t always get what you want’. The tantrums of the two-year-old (mostly) give way to the recognition of constraints: Mum and Dad are not so generous that everyone in the family can have whatever they want whenever they want it. Parents inevitably face a tough time when demonstrating this ‘fact of life’. The process usually involves the imposition of rules and then enforcing those rules. A period of conflict often ensues: hence the tantrums. However, with consistency of application, the rules become well known and harmony within the family prevails. Society on a broader scale faces a similar context. The resources available are not so bountiful that all can satisfy their every desire. Choices have to be made that determine who gets access to which resources for what purpose. The coordination of people so that these choices can be made without disruptive and wasteful ‘tantrums’ is arguably the highest priority for society. Just as in the family context, the setting of rules and their enforcement is fundamental. The primary rules or ‘institutions’ that underpin the social coordination of resource use choice relate to the establishment and enforcement of property rights and the exchange of those rights between people. Some of these institutions are ‘external’ in that they are imposed on members of society by formalised organisations such as parliament and the courts that...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.