The Vermont Common Assets Trust: An institution for sustainable, just and efficient resource allocation

Joshua Farley, Robert Costanza, Gary Flomenhoft, Daniel Kirk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Both private and public sectors have failed to adequately provide critical ecosystem goods and services or an equitable distribution of wealth and income. To address this problem, the Vermont legislature is considering the creation of a Vermont Common Assets Trust (VCAT) that would make the state's atmosphere, aquifers and other resources created by nature or by society as a whole the common property of all Vermonters, present and future. Under the Trust, a board of trustees would have the legal obligation to manage these assets for the benefit of all Vermonters, including future generations. This paper first explains why certain resources are likely to be managed more sustainably, fairly and efficiently as common property than as private property. It then discusses mechanisms for integrating assets into the trust. Estimates of potential revenue from a VCAT suggest that it could eliminate the state budget deficit, contribute to a better distribution of wealth and resources, and help address critical ecological problems. Survey results suggest that a VCAT is politically feasible. The VCAT promises to be an important pilot project that could later be scaled up to a national or global level.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-79
    JournalEcological Economics
    Volume109
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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