by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
“Rick” Stroup was one of the founders of the environmental economics movement; he was a conservationist of the first rank. “Conserving” resources requires accounting for the opportunity costs of using those resources. But in the 1970s the focus of “environmentalism” was command and control; it fell to economists such as Richard L. Stroup, John A. Baden, Terry L. Anderson, and others to point out that prices embody and enforce a concern for opportunity cost better than any alternative system.
The essence of the environmental economics approach is the need to clarify and protect property rights. …
Speaking for myself, it was a blessing to have Rick in my adopted hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina for the final years of his life. Rick didn’t say much in crowds, but when he did speak it was worth hearing. We hope that readers can hear the echoes of that strong voice for free markets and effective conservation in Anderson’s letter, below.
Anderson explains: “I wrote this letter after receiving the news of Rick’s passing and only wish I had written it before. Rick was a mentor, friend, entrepreneur, scholar, writer, and one of the best economists I have had the privilege to know. I hope those who read it will reflect on all that Rick contributed to their lives.”