Contract v. Property (was: Private Property and Capitalism)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 15:01:35 -0400

Robin Hanson writes:

>My current approach to "incremental" is in terms of the intellectual
>arguments offered to limit freedom of contract. Full freedom of
>contract gets us everything we want, and we already have a bit of

I wonder if this advocacy of contract entails a repudiation of property?

Dipleased with how copyright works as a property right, I've been researching
of late how to contractulize rights to expressive works. While this scheme
would not "privatize" copyright, which already allows privately held
property, it would privatize the decision process through which rights to
expressive works (e.g., works that qualify for copyright) get assigned.

The more I continue in this train of thought, the more attractive contract
appears as an alternative to property. Or, rather, the more attractive it
appears as a complementary way of framing economic relations. I sometimes
think of contract as the wave side of something like a particle/wave duality.