Vision is central to the human species’ evolution and success. This dependence on sight is reflected in the construction of property frameworks governing natural resources. When humans encounter natural resources they cannot see—hidden resources—they have difficulties imagining an appropriate property regime. As a result, they rely on existing two-dimensional property systems to govern natural resources, which are often three- or four-dimensional in nature. These hidden resources, invisible to the human eye, may be subsurface, distant, or not composed of a visible form. Examples of hidden resources include groundwater, minerals, petroleum, porous space, wind, migratory paths, deep oceans, viruses, and planets. This Article proposes that a lack of natural resource sight affects the ability to efficiently use, manage, and conserve resources. It further examines how revelation of a resource’s latent physical and visual traits results in efficient development and optimal law and policy, concluding that hidden resources should not be governed by the same property frameworks as visible property.
Monika U. Ehrman,
U.C. Irvine L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.uci.edu/ucilr/vol13/iss2/8