Re: The Libertarian action?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Nov 04 2000 - 10:39:38 MST

Brian Atkins wrote:
> To the people responding with choice A, do you disagree that noise/silence
> in the surrounding air should not be considered to be some kind of publicly
> shared infrastructure just like radio spectrum or the underlying water table?
> Would you prefer it if everyone could blast away with their high powered
> radio transmitters on any and all frequencies they wish? That just anyone
> who wants to could dump toxic waste into the water table just next to your
> farmland? Or should there be some kind of mechanism to handle disputes in
> these physically shared things, either auctions or committees to arbitrate?

I think that noise is a publicly shared infrastructure, which can be purchased
just like radio frequencies, and I think that the current approximation to a
mechanism for purchasing noise rights is called "zoning". There are
incredibly loud areas where factories and airports are located, mildly loud
urban areas, and sleepy suburbs. If you choose the convenience of living in a
commercially zoned area with half a dozen bars already nearby, then you've
also chosen to live with the noise. Even if someone is significantly
increasing the amount of nearby noise, and thereby actually decreasing
property values, the property owners have no "shared infrastructure" argument
unless the noise goes above the legal limits for commercially zoned property -
it was a risk that should have been factored into the initial buying decision.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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