[ExI] External costs (was Re: are all cultures equivalent?)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 10:51:33 UTC 2009

2009/4/20 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:

> ### Ah, so you reject the legitimacy of the notion of individual
> property rights. Fine, since this implies you cannot make an ownership
> claim to your house and body (remember, you just rejected this type of
> right), I and my friends will help ourselves to whatever we like. Only
> cunning and ruthlessness will decide who survives, just like in the
> old days in the jungle.

Property law is very complex. There is no obvious or natural set of
rules to determine who has the right to own what. For example, to most
societies the idea that someone could own the air is absurd, and to
some hunter gatherer societies the notion of owning land is equally
absurd. And the good capitalists in the street I live in would take
action against me if I decided to use my house as a brothel, since it
is generally felt (rightly or wrongly) that this would ruin the
amenity of the street, and is contrary to town planning laws. Like
taxes, town planning laws and environment protection laws are
something most people support (which is why they exist) but which most
people would flout if there was a profit in it for them to do so and
they could get away with it.

Stathis Papaioannou

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