Property Rights: Necessary but Not Sufficient for Prosperity

At e3ne.org, I have posted some reflections on my last discussion with the Ethics & Economics Challenge students, on the topic of private property rights. The work of Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson on how property rights support high levels of development plays a prominent role. Here's a scatter plot from their famous 2001 paper: Economies … Continue reading Property Rights: Necessary but Not Sufficient for Prosperity

How Dogmatic Libertarians Drive People Away

At the Daily Beast, Keli Goff has a piece on "Why Blacks Aren't Libertarians." In fact, however, she may be a libertarian; at least, nothing in this piece shows why she cannot be. However, she definitely rejects a kind of dogmatic, absolutist libertarianism that she has encountered - and reasonably so, in my view. Here … Continue reading How Dogmatic Libertarians Drive People Away

Matt Zwolinski on Property Rights

Matt Zwolinski of Bleeding Heart Libertarians has written an excellent series of posts on the libertarian justification of property rights. Here's the latest. The first and most important thing to note about both Locke and Nozick’s arguments is that, unlike utilitarian arguments, they are individualistic rather than collectivistic in nature. For the utilitarian, all that … Continue reading Matt Zwolinski on Property Rights

Freedom as a Moral Concept (Update)

Over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, there have been some interesting posts recently on moralized and non-moralized conceptions of freedom. Jason Brennan says defining liberty to mean only negative liberty is "linguistic revisionism" without philosophic import. He then makes the case that bleeding-heart libertarianism (or Rawlsianism or various other non-traditionally-libertarian conceptions of property rights) does not … Continue reading Freedom as a Moral Concept (Update)

My Introduction to Political Philosophy Final Exam

Here are the essay questions from the final exam I gave in "Introduction to Political Philosophy" last semester. How would you answer these questions? 3.1 Rights to Property Answer one of these questions. 1. What is John Rawls’ “difference principle,” and how does he defend it? What are its implications for the welfare state? Is … Continue reading My Introduction to Political Philosophy Final Exam

Will on Forfeiture Abuse

George Will has a good column today on civil asset forfeiture abuse. He highlights an ongoing case in Tewksbury, Mass., where the DOJ and local police department are colluding to seize a motel from the owners because some drug dealers have stayed there in the past. The government is not claiming that the owners knew … Continue reading Will on Forfeiture Abuse

“Neoclassical Liberalism,” Property Rights, and Capitalism

Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi have a thought-provoking piece entitled, "A Bleeding Heart History of Libertarianism," in the latest Cato Unbound. They criticize postwar libertarians (specifically mentioning Mises, Rand, and Rothbard) for seeing property rights as absolute and, in their view, regarding the welfare of the working poor as irrelevant to moral justifications for capitalism: … Continue reading “Neoclassical Liberalism,” Property Rights, and Capitalism