MAI and the environment

Geoff Smith (
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 21:35:44 -0800

At some point, someone (I think Michael Lorrey or Lee Daniel Crocker),
mentioned that those states who eliminated their tradition environmental
laws in favour of laws that allowed private citizens to take legal action
against polluters ended up lowering their levels of pollution. (this
sounds exactly like the Coase Theorem in action) Could someone please give
me some facts and figures on this phenomenon?
This example came up in a discussion about how the Multilateral Agreement
on Investment will affect the environment. My argument is that this treaty
will force governments to get rid of their environmental laws (as these
laws will put domestic companies at a disadvantage to the MAI-protected
foreign companies) Therefore, the last line of defence for the environment
will be to allow private citizens to sue companies for the pollution they
cause which, according to someone on this list, will actually be better for
the environment.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated,