Thursday, August 4, 2011
Here's a sobering thought:
Recall that at higher levels of income societies are safer. It turns out that all the benign effect of higher income depends upon the society being democratic. Indeed, it is more striking than that: in the absence of democracy, as a society starts to get rich it becomes more prone to political violence. Democracies get safer as income rises, whereas autocracies get more dangerous. If it helps, you can think of this as two lines, an upward-sloping one showing how democracies get safer as income rises, and a downward-sloping one showing how autocracies get less safe. The level of income at which democracy has no net effect on violence, $2,700 [per capita], is simply the point at which these two lines cross over. Applying this to the society with the most astounding income change in our times, China has now passed the income threshold - per capital income has soared past $3,000. So, if China runs to form, year by year its spectacular economic growth is now making it more prone to political violence unless it democratizes.
Paul Collier, Wars, Guns, and Votes (Harper, 2009), p. 21.
Monday, August 1, 2011
I've been asked to publicize the following conference. Here's the material they sent:
Beijing Conference Explores the Importance of Property Rights on a Global Scale
As China continues to emerge as an economic superpower, one of the challenges it faces is deciding how to further enhance its market economy through its private property laws. It is against this backdrop that, on October 14-15, William & Mary Law School's Property Rights Project will host the law school's first international conference at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The eighth annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference will bring together esteemed scholars, jurists, and practitioners from the United States and China to discuss the evolution of property rights on a global scale.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will receive the 2011 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize at the conference and will be a featured speaker. O'Connor served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1981 to 2006. She made history in 1981 as the first woman nominated to serve on the high court. Her widely cited dissenting opinion in Kelo v. City of New London (2005) has been hailed as a pivotal opinion in property law jurisprudence. She became Chancellor of the College of William & Mary following her retirement from the judiciary. A formal reception will be held on October 13 at the United States Embassy in Beijing to honor Justice O’Connor and the conference’s Chinese host, Tsinghua University School of Law.
The conference is being held at and in cooperation with Tsinghua University School of Law, one of China’s top universities and law schools. The conference will be a featured event during Tsinghua University's celebration of the 100th anniversary of its founding.
Holding the conference in China "will foster a comparative framework for the discussion of property rights that is long overdue given the strong ties between the United States and China and China's dynamic role in the world economy," explained Chancellor Professor of Law Lynda Butler, the Project's director.
William & Mary Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas said the slate of participants comprised many scholars "whose work forms the foundation of contemporary American property law jurisprudence." He added that while plans are still preliminary, he looked forward to having a number of China's pre-eminent scholars also participate.
The annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference is named in recognition of Toby Prince Brigham and Gideon Kanner for their lifetime contributions to private property rights. Now in its eighth year, the conference is designed to bring together members of the bench, bar and academia to explore recent developments in takings law and other areas of the law affecting property rights. During the conference, the Project presents the Brigham-Kanner Prize to an outstanding figure in the field.
All previous prize recipients will participate in the conference. They include: Richard A. Epstein, formerly of the University of Chicago Law School and now at New York University School of Law, Robert C. Ellickson of Yale Law School, James W. Ely, Jr., professor emeritus of Vanderbilt Law School, Frank I. Michelman of Harvard Law School, Richard E. Pipes, professor emeritus of Harvard University, Margaret Jane Radin of the University of Michigan Law School, and Carol M. Rose of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and professor emerita of Yale Law School.
The Conference program will explore the following panel topics:
** Legal Protection of Property Rights: A Comparative Look
** Reflections on Important Property Rights Decisions
** Property as an Instrument of Social Policy
** How Practitioners Shape the Law
** Culture and Property
** Property as an Economic Institution
** Property Rights and the Environment
** The Future of Property Rights
An optional post-conference tour of China and Hong Kong has been arranged. The tour will run from October 16 through 23. Prior to the conference, on October 13, day trips will be available to the Forbidden City and Great Wall.
For information about the conference, CLE credit, and the optional trips and tour, please visit the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference website at www.bkconference.com or contact Kathy Pond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean Douglas’s video message: