Re: Contract v. Property (was: Private Property and Capitalism)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 08:33:03 -0400

In a message dated 96-10-17 16:09:09 EDT, Robin Hanson writes:

> You can have a contract without much property, and a contract can
> agree to pretty much any arrangement imaginable, including ones
> without any property. So contracts seem more general.

I've been turning this over and over and can't seem to imagine a contract
that doesn't involve _some_ reference to property rights. It is possible to
imagine a contract of "pure" personal service ... "I'll think for you about
such-and-such a subject and tell you what I come up with for so many
dollars," for instance. But it seems that this contract can be translated
into the statement: "I sell you the right to know what I think about
such-and-such". You now _own_ that right. This may be a mere word game, but
since property rights are obviously fundamental to more concrete
transactions, what am I missing?

Greg Burch <> <> or
"Barrister's speeches vanish quicker than Chinese dinners,
and even the greatest victory in court rarely survives
longer than the next Sunday's papers."
-- Rumpole o' the Bailey