The state of Arizona issued a lease to a Saudi Arabian company that is said to threaten the water supply in Arizona. It looks as though some Arizona politicians made some decisions that are coming back to bite the people they are supposed to represent. No doubt similar problems exist where governments have sold resources to foreign buyers and now realize it shouldn’t have been done.
This raises several questions that relate directly or indirectly:
- If there is no law against foreign entities buying land and water resources in the US, should we expect foreign buyers to refuse to buy what they need because not buying might be better for us?
- If there is no law against selling land and water resources to foreign buyers, should people who want to do so be prohibited?
- If there is no law against selling other properties to foreign buyers, or against such purchases by foreign buyers, are buyers or sellers in such transactions doing anything wrong by doing what they want?
- Is there an important difference between selling products and natural resources, or between selling replaceable natural resources — like timber and grain — and irreplaceable — like water, oil and gas — natural resources?
- Is there a difference between what private actors — individuals, businesses and corporations — may properly sell, and what governments can properly do with property that [we like to think] belongs to all the people?
- Would it be proper to deny domestic transactions to some foreign entities but not to others? If so, how should we decide who is and who ain’t?
Have any of you wondered whether we should be denying the PRC/CCP purchases of land and other real properties within the US?
But I’m biased… I don’t even like the fact that all that farmland has been sold to Senor Gates, but I’m afraid I would have had to object to any government blocking the sales. However, we are living so far outside my moral, ethical and political principles that I wouldn’t object on principle if sensible laws were passed to better prevent the squandering of US’ most important natural resources.
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