Walter Block

Walter Block
Loyola University New Orleans | Loyola · Center for Spiritual Capital

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167
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Publications (167)
Article
Makovi (2019) has traveled a long distance, all the way from his 20-yard line to his opponent’s 5-yard line. But, he needs a little push to score a goal. The present essay is our attempt to provide that for him in terms of public goods, externalities, and laissez faire capitalism.
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Full-text available
Heumer and I debate animal rights, utilitarianism, libertarianism, morality and philosophy. We agree that suffering is a problem, and diverge, widely, on how to deal with it. I maintain that this author’s reputation as a libertarian, let alone an intellectual leader of this movement, is problematic. Why? That is because libertarianism, properly und...
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Friedman (2017) is a response to Narveson (2016). The former starts out with the following words:
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In this chapter, I will comment on contributions by two libertarians, on the philosophically vexing problem of abortion. To wit, on Narveson (2016) and on Friedman (2017). Let us start with the former.
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Tooley (1972) sets an important question for himself:
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Gordon (Doris 1999) starts off her essay on a strong note:
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I have two problems with this book right from the start. Boonin’s subject is abortion, but he never defines that term. Is it the eviction, the removal, of the fetus? If this is what is meant, we must say that at the present level of medical technology, this will spell the death knell of the infant during the first two trimesters of its life, but no...
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This is a two part chapter, both elements devoted to a libertarian commentary on the views of Marquis on abortion. The first will deal with Marquis (1989) and the second with Marquis (2007).
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In this chapter we critically consider the views of three leading libertarians on the topic of this book. Their comments appear below. They are interspersed with my responses.
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The abortion controversy is tearing our society apart. Some people are pro-choice, others are pro-life, and never the twain, seemingly, will meet, let alone calmly discuss this issue with each other. This is perhaps the most important controversy to beset our society since the one taking place until 1865. And, it is far less philosophically clear,...
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With but one major exception, I am a strong supporter of McDonagh (1996), not so much Ford (2005). As the latter is a comment on the former, let me start with McDonagh.
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Beckwith (1993) starts off this very important essay of his with a paean to Boonin (2003):
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Lee is an attempt to promote the pro-life perspective from a Christian point of view. He
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A brief summary of Israel’s economic history and the extraordinary free market reforms promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu that turned it into the Start Up Nation.
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Anti-Zionism is studied in depth, in order to show both its nature and that of the BDS movement. We demonstrate its intimate relationship with Anti-Semitism.
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Here we examine the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, particularly the Oslo Accords, and why it failed. We also present the conditions that would be needed to make a real and lasting peace possible.
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What is the methodology employed by Anti-Zionists who attack Israel? We subject their critiques to withering criticism.
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In this chapter we deal with the views of those authors who oppose Israel based on a Classical Liberal and/or libertarian approach, particularly Murray N. Rothbard, and show how their views relate to the non-Classical Liberal Anti-Zionists.
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An analysis of the philosophy and history of Zionism, from a classical liberal perspective.
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We present a summary and overview of our case for Israel, and our particular view of the conditions that would make peace possible.
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The millennia old connection between the land of Israel (Judea) and the Jewish people is the foundation of the right of Jews to own land in Israel, to work and build a state there. Establishing such a connection is the focus of this chapter; we present historical data to demonstrate these claims of ours. We use the John Lockean emphasis on homestea...
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The concept of Intentional Action is at the core of Praxeology, as developed by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. Under this unique approach, defined as the science of human action and designed to study the field of the social sciences, Mises created an axiomatic-deductive system starting from the “action axiom”: the contention that every ac...
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In this chapter we analyze neoclassical concepts such as utility maximization and indifference, in order to identify their difficulties in explaining consumer choice. Thus, we study the process of human action itself, and the problems of indifference analysis. We provide a critique of the neoclassical view of consumer choice and contrast it with th...
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This chapter is divided in two sections, both dealing with political philosophy from a libertarian perspective. In section 1, we maintain that statism cannot logically be defended in theory, while anarchism can be. We attempt to buttress both of these claims in this essay. Our main contention is that the statists’ defense of the state is based not...
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On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, a particularly vicious gang rape took place in Pakistan: the woman’s young children were forced to witness this act of brutality. The local police chief blamed the victim for driving at night on an empty road. Been there, heard that. Move along, nothing to see here.
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Most countries in the world are on the metric system. There is even a movement afoot to convert the U.S. to these types of weights and measures. Inroads have already been made. Athletes race 5 k and 10 k distances, not 3 and 6 miles, respectively. Our swimming competitions take place in 25 and 50-meter pools, not yards, and our sprinters are timed...
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There is perhaps no lawyer more despised and disdained than the ambulance chaser. In contrast, even the member of the bar found guilty of accepting a bribe or engaging in fraud, does not have quite the same negative aura about him. The downright thief can at least claim a bit of class; not so—at least in the perception of a large proportion of the...
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The feminist move for equal pay is dead from the neck up. To be sure, legislatures are continually enacting this idea into law. But as the evidence continues to pile up, its intellectual foundation is crumbling. The first nail in the coffin is that there is no wage gap between never-married males and females. That much ballyhooed statistic accordin...
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Did you ever wear a sombrero, and are not Mexican? Then you are a cultural appropriator, you heinous creature, you! Ditto for a sari, and are not Indian. Yalmica? Jewish. You are a monster. You are evil. You have appropriated the culture of downtrodden peoples, and thus exploited them. Opposition to cultural appropriation went so far at a political...
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Competition amongst the British newspapers often really heats up. No longer content with lurid stories of political peccadillos, sex scandal, labor unrest, punk rock and teenage gang warfare, the various dailies are offering gigantic cash prizes for various and sundry game winners.
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A unilateral declaration of free trade on the part of our country is hardly at the top of the agenda of the government. But it may be of interest to examine this public policy alternative since it is the only one compatible with libertarianism.
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As the title of this chapter indicates, the front lawn nudist (FLN) is someone who appears sans clothes on his front lawn. He does not violate the non-aggression principle (NAP), nor private property rights. He engages in this act on his own land. Nevertheless, his actions provide a challenge to libertarians such as me who regard the NAP and privat...
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It sounds innocuous. You get a map. No, one of those old fashioned ones, on paper, not the electronic version. It is possible to do this in that way, but let’s stick to the tried and true. You get your red pen out and draw a line around a given neighborhood. So far, no problem. But, then, you refuse to lend any mortgage money, or make any loans wha...
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Junaid Hafeez has been held in a Pakistani jail for 6 years, from 2013 to 2019, for the crime of blasphemy. A former professor of English literature at Bahauddin Zakariya University run by the government of Pakistan, he has recently been sentenced to death by a court in that nation. He was formerly a Fulbright Scholar at Jackson State University in...
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What is the case, first, in opposition to boosters who pay college student-athletes under the table? These athletes sign a contract precluding them from taking any pay whatsoever, apart from meals, defrayment of transportation costs, and other incidentals clearly specified. If they violate this bond, they are in danger of losing their eligibility s...
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U.S. Representative Trent Franks (R, Arizona) was compelled to resign from his House seat due to the fact that he had asked staff members if they would agree to bear a child for him and his infertile wife as a surrogate mother. For those not in the know about this relationship, the father, Mr. Franks in this case, becomes a sperm donor to the host...
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Open your eyes, gentle reader. Peruse that thar sunset or this beautiful flower. Visual magnificence is all around us, from a baby’s smile to the rainbow.
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The name of a certain city in North America shall not be given, in order to save its inhabitants from embarrassment in their leadership. A ladies’ wear retailer sought a license to do business. He was denied. The embattled storekeeper vowed to fight city hall. He applied to do business selling bankruptcy stock on a discount basis. But he wanted to...
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The Food and Drug Administration must go. This organization is costly, is a gargantuan waste of time and causes needless deaths by slowing down innovation. The sooner it is disbanded, the better.
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When people leave their homes for a week or a month, they just sit there empty, not doing any good for anyone. Well, check that: their owners benefit from knowing that they can return at any time, and their domiciles will be available to them immediately. This is similar to the precautionary motive in macroeconomics: the motive for holding on to ca...
Chapter
The case for rent control seems rather simple and straightforward. Tenants are usually poorer than landlords. In a tight housing market without such “protection,” rents will rocket and the unfortunate occupants of apartments will be forced into smaller and smaller dwelling spaces and greater and greater misery.
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The Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunication Commission has been holding hearings to determine whether or not religious organizations should be allowed to broadcast on the Canadian air waves.
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Up until 1984, the Olympics were noted for splendid athletic accomplishments, coupled with financial disaster. The 1976 Games in Montreal, for example, posted a monumental $1 billion deficit.
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Purpose This paper aims to examine the case against land use zoning. Design/methodology/approach We approach this analysis from the perspective of economics, health and geography. Findings The findings of this paper suggest that the case against zoning is overwhelming. Research limitations/implications This result applies only to public zoning,...
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Full-text available
In the 1950s, the thriving oil business – along with a legal framework respectful of private property – made Venezuela one of the richest countries in the world. Hence, many came to think that in a matter of years the South American country would become a First World nation. Seventy years later, the reality is different: Venezuela is a country p...
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Although I shall be criticizing you, even severely, please do not take this amiss. I mean your organization no harm. Quite the contrary. My two children, in their early 20’s, are both new dri-vers. I would suffer more than I can tell you if anything were to happen to them as a result of drunken driving. I am thus a sup-porter of yours. I am on your...
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What is the status of claims about the effects of minimum wage laws? Empirical or praxeological? We claim the latter. How can the effect of such legislation be best analyzed under the assumption of mis-behaving supply (backward bending) and demand (positively sloped, based on positing Giffen goods) curves? In the usual manner: resource misallocatio...
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Although Shleifer himself might not interpret his paper (1998) as an unwarranted and gratuitous attack on philosophical anar-chism, that is precisely its thesis, as shall be demonstrated below. This author starts off by noting that, at least compared to the views espoused by the leading economists of the 20th century compared to the decades at its...
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The neoclassical economists have long used the concept of «market failure» as a stick with which to beat up on the free enterprise system. Foremost amongst these so called «market failures» are «negative externalities.» These are defined as action that negatively affects third parties, other than via price. The key example is pollution. These disma...
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Say’s Law maintains that there can never be a superabundance of all goods (if any good were available in greater supply than needed, such as water or air, it would no longer be an economic good at all) and that if there is an excess of some items that are still goods, it will be matched with an insufficiency of others. The reputation of Keynes (193...
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In this paper I take Gary North to task for several errors in his recent writings. In section II I address North (2012a). Section III is devoted to a critique of North (2012b). The purpose of section IV is to explore the propriety of criticizing a fellow Austrian-libertarian, with whom I am in agreement in probably 99% of all issues in political ec...
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This paper makes four points. First, interest rates are not prices; rather they are metrics. Second, there are no markets for «loanable funds» in reality, so attempts to use «the» market for loanable funds either to explain saving-induced growth (or growth induced in other ways) are misleading. Rather, the appropriate concept is markets for financi...
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The new sheriff in town is Gross (Domestic) Output, or GO. This is a measure that attempts to measure not merely investment, nor final goods, nor consumption, but the quantity and value of intermediate goods. From the vantage point of its proponents, inclusion of this statistic in national income accounts is long overdue. From the perspective of it...
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Full-text available
According to that old adage, if you are going to attack the king, you had better kill him. Mises, of course, is our emperor. Crovelli (2010) has launched a denunciation of him. In our view, he has not at all succeeded. The monarch, of course, cannot respond, but we, his courtiers, can. In this paper we will attempt to refute the former in defense o...
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We wrestle with the issue of whether or not discrimination, in favor of or against straight and gay people can account for wage divergences between these two groups of people. Section II is devoted to empirical evidence supporting the existence of a discrimination wage gap due to sexual orientation. The majority of studies provided have concluded t...
Book
This book probes the depths of libertarian philosophy and highlights the need for laws that protect all individuals in society. This book defines libertarianism as a theory of what is just law, it is predicated upon the non-aggression principle (NAP). This legal foundation of the libertarian philosophy states that it should be illicit to threaten o...
Book
This book covers several areas of economic theory and political philosophy from the perspective of Austrian Economics and libertarianism. As such, it deals with Epistemology and Methodology, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Labor Economics, International Economics, Political Philosophy, Law and Public Policy, all from the Austro-libertarian perspect...
Book
This book applies libertarian property rights theory to a vexing controversy, abortion. This book offers a compromise solution that will not fully please either of the two sides of this debate, but, is the only possible reconciliation between the two. Nor are its benefits limited to the fact that the opposing forces in this debate may be brought to...
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We wish to “quibble” with Murphy (2019). We mean this literally. That is, we are in strong and enthusiastic agreement with virtually everything he writes therein, except for one point: we think him guilty of allowing the cloven hoof of market failure into the Austrian tent. Our purpose in the present essay is to banish market failure from praxeolog...
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Huemer [33] argues against the killing of animals. I offer a critical libertarian analysis of his claim.
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This special issue of Studia Humana is devoted, and dedicated, to libertarianism; its promotion and its study. I am very grateful to the editors of this journal for inviting me to put together such a compilation. There are 16 contributions in all, covering most of the social science disciplines.
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Economics in One Lesson is the best introduction to economics ever written. It has enticed, educated, and inspired multitudes of people to embrace the teachings of the dismal science. To the extent that if there is any understanding of economics by the general public, it is due more to this book than to any other. Yet, I have uncovered one error in...
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Full-text available
Cuando me propuse a trabajar y editar este libro quería ofrecerle al público, no solamente venezolano, una idea general de la situación en Venezuela y su causa principal, el Socialismo. Otra intención era demostrar que existen personas que se han dedicado a trabajar y analizar soluciones muy distintas a las comunes que más se publicitan –Keynesiana...
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Skousen is to be congratulated for creating an entirely new con- cept in economics, GO. There are not many social scientists of whom such a claim can be made, so this constitutes a gigantic accomplishment on his part. There are other instances of this phenomenon: Menger, Aus- trian Economics; Rothbard, libertarianism; Buchanan and Tullock, Public C...
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The view of most commentators is that all students need role models who “look like them,” and that this is especially true of members of minority groups. The present essay takes issue with that contention.
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Purpose This study aims to offer a critique of the theory of the deterioration in terms of trade, developed by Raúl Prebisch and Hans Singer. Design/methodology/approach As an example of the theory’s shortcomings, the case of Argentina’s import substitution model is analyzed. Findings This study demonstrates how a misunderstanding of the influenc...
Chapter
We provide a survey of significant libertarian contributions to the discussion surrounding ethics and taxation. By significant contributions, we mean those which have exerted a strong influence both on libertarianism, popular and academic, and on political and ethical discourse more broadly. Our discussion centers on the work of three prominent lib...
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We develop a critique of government interventionism based on the Misesian calculation argument against socialism. If private property rights and relative prices based on supply and demand are necessary for successful economic coordination, then conventional market failure theories cannot be sustained. Government interventionism based on the idea of...
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As practicing Christians, Kevin Thomas and Joyce Baker refuse to rent their residential properties in Anchorage, Alaska, to unmarried couples. Their refusal is based on the belief that facilitating extramarital sex is sinful. This tenet of their Christian faith, however, places them in direct conflict with state and city laws that prohibit discrimi...
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This chapter is divided into two parts: Environmental “Takings” of Private Water Rights and The Case for Water Privatization. In “Takings” we make the following points: Government regulation of private property for a public purpose like protection of species under the Endangered Species Act raises important constitutional questions concerning wheth...
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The authors abhor and detest real (as defined by us) sexual harassment because it is personally and professionally destructive. (Similarly, we personally loathe prostitution, addictive drugs, and cigarette smoking. However, as libertarians, we advocate the legalization of all such despicable but victimless crimes.) We write that the current mish ma...
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For years intercollegiate athletics has offered interested and able students opportunities to experience the lessons of competition, develop physical and leadership skills, be a part of a team, and perhaps most important, enjoy themselves. Good intercollegiate athletics programs require competitive parity, universal and consistently applied rules,...
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We abhor the use of addictive drugs. We believe that they are personally and professionally destructive. We publish these views of ours in opposition to the use of such substances at the commencement of this article to preclude the often encountered criticism that persons who oppose drug forfeiture and the so-called War on Drugs thereby advocate th...
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Colleges love to compete by freely disclosing to students, and potential students, the costs of tuition and room and board.
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Two recent significant actions, a court of appeals decision and interim permitting guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have created dangerous waves in the turbulent waters of environmental permitting for plant sites. Unless reversed, they forecast a regulatory nightmare for American industry that will result in a dramatic...
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This article discusses a scholarship program designed for the purpose of enticing Arkansas’s best and brightest students to attend Arkansas public and private institutions of higher education. While perhaps well-intentioned, the program suffers from fatal constitutional infirmities. In section “II. The Program,” we discuss the program. Section “III...
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The State of Arkansas has enacted a Distinguished Governor’s Scholarship Program that awards full college scholarships based solely on ACT or SAT scores. The purpose of the program is to keep “the best and brightest students” in Arkansas. As a matter of fact, fewer than 1% of the scholarships have gone to African-American and Hispanic students. Add...
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In this article, we advocate a liberty and private property rights approach to the issue of abortion. While some contend that the famous cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey settles for evermore the question of whether a woman had a legal right to an abortion, a great deal of controversy still lingers. This is so because abortion ha...
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There should be no place for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or, indeed, any other agency of government in the nation’s boardrooms. This constitutes an intrusion, even, a trespass of authority. Certainly, this should not occur unless and until there is evidence of a crime taking place. Otherwise, there is prior oversight, anathema to the free s...
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As the world’s resources become increasingly scarce with the passage of time and increase in population, different theories emerge as to which avenues of remedy would be most effective. Privatization of the world’s natural resources has been occurring for a millennia. However, as social, political, and economic systems have emerged and faded throug...
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Over 30 years ago, New York was terrorized by a serial killer, David Berkowitz, immortalized by the media as the “Son of Sam.” By the time Berkowitz was apprehended, publicity about the case had created an enormous monetary value in the rights to his criminal story. New York’s appalled legislature sought to prevent Berkowitz and other criminals fro...
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In practically all of its various forms, petroleum is potentially hazardous to the environment. As a result, virtually every activity engaged in by the petroleum industry can have profound environmental implications. For many years, environmental considerations have played a role in decisions regarding the siting of petroleum production, refining,...
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In James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that the Scouts could not exclude Mr. Dale from serving as an adult leader because he was gay. Then the U.S. Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale concluded in a 5–4 decision that the scout’s First Amendment grounded freedom of association allowed them to exclude...
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Imagine that a member of your family faced sure death unless a body part could be found and quickly transplanted. Your doctor and the hospital have the know-how to perform the procedure but lack the human raw materials with which to do the job. To what lengths would you be able to go to obtain the body part? And, since the supply is usually smaller...
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Reparations, whether to blacks for slavery, or to Indians for land theft, or to settle any number of other conflicts, have an interesting political background. Analysts on the left, who are usually no friend of private property rights, nevertheless rely on this doctrine to support their case. Those on the right, in contrast, who supposedly defend t...
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In its Kelo decision, the Supreme Court upheld Connecticut’s decision to use its eminent domain powers to take property from one set of private owners and give it to another set of private owners. The state defended this plan on the grounds that the former group of owners was using their property in a less efficient manner than would the latter. Th...
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There once was a little girl with a curl. According to the nursery rhyme, “when she was good, she was very, very good; when she was bad, she was horrid.”
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Ona’ah is a Hebrew word indicating the Jewish Talmudic law which, according to various interpretations, proscribes both fraud and over-charging. This chapter sharply distinguishes between these two concepts, accepting the former as legitimate but rejecting the latter on grounds of economic inefficiency and property rights violations.

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