Advanced Topics in Liberty

Property Rights and Freedom

Conference for students - May 10-12, 2013

Discussion Leader: Karol Boudreaux

Session 1: The Origins of Property Rights

Pipes, Richard. Property and Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Chapter 1, “The Idea of Property” (pages 3–63) and notes (pages 293–298).

Session 2: Philosophical Bases for Property Rights 

Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government (Student Edition). Edited by Peter Laslett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Chapter 5, “Of Property” (pages 285–302).

Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1974. Selection from Chapter 7, “Distributive Justice” (pages 149–182) and notes (pages 344–345).

Schmidtz, David. The Limits of Government –– An Essay on the Public Goods Argument. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991. Chapter 2, “Property” (pages 15–32) and notes (pages 166–168).

Session 3: Markets and Propert Rights

Demsetz, Harold. “Toward a Theory of Property Rights.” American Economic Review 57, no. 2 (1967): 347–359.

North, Douglass C. and Robert Paul Thomas. The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973, 1999, 2006. Chapter 1, “The Issue” (pages 1–8), Chapter 2, “An Overview” (pages 9–18), and Chapter 3, “Property Rights in Land and Man” (pages 19–24).

Session 4: Property Rights and the Rule of Law

Epstein, Richard A. “Property Rights and the Rule of Law: Classical Liberalism Confronts the Modern Administrative State.” Mont Pelerin Society Meeting, Sweden, August 17, 2009. Entire paper (38 pages).

Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. Edited by David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Part 2: The Text: Book 3, Part 2, Section 2, “Of the origin of justice and property” (pages 311–322), Section 3, “Of the rules, which determine property” (pages 322–330), and Section 4, “Of the transference of property by consent” (pages 330–331). 

Session 5: Property Rights: Cultural Contexts

Bethell, Tom. The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999. Chapter 3, “Plato’s Conceit: Property at Jamestown and Plymouth” (pages 33–43) and Chapter 21, “China, Property, and Democracy” (pages 327–341) and notes (pages 345–346 and 368–370).

North, Douglass C., John Joseph Wallis and Barry R. Weingast. Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Selections from Chapter 5, “The Transition from Limited to Open Access Orders: The Doorstep Conditions” (pages 148–154).

Session 6: Critiques of Property Rights

Cohen, G.A. Self-ownership, Freedom, and Equality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Chapter 3, “Self-Ownership, World-Ownership and Equality” (pages 67–91).

Murphy, Liam and Thomas Nagel. The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Chapter 1, “Introduction” (pages 3–11) and selection from Chapter 2, Part VII, “The Problem of Everyday Libertarianism” (pages 31–37) and notes (pages 191 and 196).