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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Enclosing the River: Industrialisation and the 'Property Rights' Discourse in the Liri Valley (South of Italy), 1806-1916

Stefania Barca

Environment and History 13(2007): 3-23

The 'tragedy of the commons' narrative states the eco-efficiency of private property, but this is basically a theoretical assumption, nor it is supported by the environmental history of the industrial era. The Liri valley story, located at the periphery of the industrial revolution, provides an excellent opportunity for investigating the environmental impact of privatisation in water resources, and its social costs. The article also shows how, in the process of appropriating the energetic yield of water, early industrial capitalists participated in the emergence of the post-feudal discourse of private property and public good.

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