Saturday, July 28, 2012

Are property rights enough?

I thought this was one of the most interesting things I read in reason in recent months. I reminded me of a debate I heard about in graduate school about segregation. The question in that debate was whether getting rid of legal segregation and discrimination would have sufficed to improve the position of African-Americans in the US or whether it would require social change in addition to legal change. I thought the right answer in the debate was that you had to have both, that a strict libertarian ending of only the legal restrictions would have accomplished something, but might not have changed the social equilibrium.

The reason piece addresses the same question but in a less specific context. Another way to think about the reason debate, which is not how the participants frame it, is about the boundary between liberarianism and classical liberalism and which one is better and/or more likely to lead to a truly free society.

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