How the blockchain will save the rainforests
by Erik Vollstädt
Most of the world’s precious nature reserves and regions known for biodiversity are not privately owned, as the government deems their preservation too important to let private people take care of them. What happened as a result of this noble undertaking is known as the “tragedy of the commons” – instead of having “everyone” (or rather their government delegates) control the public space, no one will be really interested in preserving its quality, since every individual expects someone else to do the job. The lack of incentivization prevents our government delegates from doing a good job, as their income does not depend on customer demand or market competition, but rather on how many favours one has accomplished for one’s supervisor and his cronies.
On top of that, public services have a reverse incentivization structure: The worse the operating conditions of the government agency, the more tax funds they will receive from the government. Therefore, public services administrators have an incentive to exacerbate the condition of the public good they are taking care of, to increase their budgets and redirect the newly “won” money to their cronies through accounting tricks, which will return the favour with something similar from their side. Corruption and dishonest behaviour in government agencies is nothing new, it is an inherent outcome of the system we are living in.
One of the many flagrant examples of this in the nature reserves sphere can be found in the administration of the Yasuní rainforest in Ecuador. The public good is being sold to oil corporations, which are likely to have “earned” the money for their purchase through another government racket (e.g. lobbyism for regulations that destroy smaller competitors to become a monopolist/oligopolist). What is totally overseen here is that all of this is based on the prior expropriation of the aboriginal tribes living there for centuries before the arrival of modern states.
What can we do to change this? Instead of lobbying to governments to make a change, although their existance is the very reason we are in this situation, we could provide the aboriginal tribes the means to reclaim their homeland.
A new way to do so is by incorporating their land property on the blockchain, a land claim that goes far beyond the authority of nation states. Land deeds on the blockchain can be verified by millions of users all over the world, the result of a global consensus that does not require violent law enforcement. By using Bitnation’s BitLand DApp, aboriginal tribes such as the Taromenane could get real international support to back their land claims, in spite of government racketeering and mercantilism.
The aboriginal tribes residing in the rainforests have to decide themselves what they want to do with their fought back territory, be it to keep it as it is, sell it, use it as farmland or industrialize it. Trying to regulate their use of their own property would be an invasion of their private property rights, and therefore immoral and unjust.
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