Introduction to Property Theory

This is yet another unpublished paper to introduce property theory to various audiences, particularly economists.

The Libertarian Case for Slavery: A Note on Nozick

This is a historically important paper, by one “J. Philmore,” arguing along with Robert Nozick from a free-market libertarian viewpoint that the self-sale contract and the current employment or self-rental contract are on the same moral footing.

The Market Mechanism of Appropriation

This is a non-mathematical treatment of the fundamental theorem about the laissez faire mechanism for property appropriation.

Hume Implies Locke: Fundamental Theorem of Property Theory

The fundamental theorem for the invisible hand mechanism in the property system is that if Hume’s conditions are satisfied, then the invisible judge imputes in accordance with the Lockean responsibility principle. The paper mathematically formulates and proves the theorem using vector flows on graphs.

On Rawls and Nussbaum

This paper was delivered at a 2008 conference in Leuven on Martha Nussbaum’s book Frontiers of Justice. The paper was to be published in the conference proceedings, but somehow that never happened.

Rethinking Common vs. Private Property

The purpose of this paper is to suggest a rethinking of the common-versus-private framing of the property rights issue in the Commons Movement. The underlying normative principle we will use is simply the basic juridical principle that people should be legally responsible for the (positive and negative) results of their actions, i.e., that legal or de jure responsibility should be imputed in accordance with de facto responsibility. In the context of property rights, the responsibility principle is the old idea that property should be founded on people getting the (positive or negative) fruits of their labor, which is variously called the labor or natural rights theory of property.

The Pons Asinorum of Political-Economic Theory

In many debates of a political or economic nature, I find myself again and again arguing with people on both the left and right who take the consent-vs.-coercion framing of political and economic issues as fundamental. Those on the right tend to take consent as the essentially sufficient condition for an institution to be morally acceptable. Somewhat surprisingly, those on the left accept the same framing of the issue, and just take the other side—arguing that certain institutions are “actually” coercive.

Listen Libertarians! Concluding Part V

In this fifth and concluding part of the review of John Tomasi’s book Free Market Fairness, we look at the invisible hand mechanism of the property system (in contrast to the usual price system) which seems to be invisible to liberal scholars and social scientists since it does not give a satisfactory “account” of the current economic system based on the renting of human beings.

Listen Libertarians! Part IV

In this Part IV, we consider the rather fake “inalienable rights” theory of classical liberal/libertarian thought that is consistent with a civilized voluntary slavery contract, a nondemocratic pact of subjection, and a coverture marriage contract, all of which are outlawed in the advanced democracies.

Listen Libertarians! Part III

In this Part III, we consider the conceptual misunderstanding of what Tomasi calls “productive property” which allows the basic capitalism-versus-socialism misframing of the debate about the so-called “capitalist” system.