Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Is Property Dead?
For those not on the propertyprof listserve, let me report that there has been a very lively discussion about future interests over the last week or so. As I have followed the email thread, I have been remarkably impressed by the passion, learning, and intellectual discipline of my colleagues. The conversation has been scholarly yet accessible, and full of strong opinions yet remarkably cordial. All in all, it's been a real advertisement for everything that's great about working in the property field.
And yet... And yet, the discussion has also left me a little cold. The subtle difference between executory interests and contingent remainders has sparked more discussion than any other topic over the last year? Really? It just feels small somehow, persnickety even. Disciplines naturally ebb and flow over the course of years. Is property just in a lull?
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There are many interesting things going on in property. For example, how can property law benefit emerging concepts of ownership in places such as virtual worlds? What is the meaning of property? How should property rights be used to protect intangible things such as copyright, patent, and trademark?
Then you add in the policy side of property law. How can land use regulation be implemented to encourage development? Encourage sustained development instead of strip-mall development? How do you avoid Constitutional issues? How do the ever-increasing regulations on land use play with takings rights?
I think the reason future interests is fun to talk about is the same reason mathematicians can get into interesting discussions on Pi; it's basic property law that everyone knows, has some fun debate threads, and something you can only have amusing discussions over with other property law fans.
Posted by: John Nelson | Oct 28, 2010 4:29:36 AM
Nah. Almost any teaching question will get some good discussion on the listserv, in part because anyone who teaches the subject knows at least something about the issue. This question happened to be about future interests. The subtle distinctions between contingent remainders and executory interests are challenging, so this topic probably went more in-depth than some others might. But other teaching questions get a lot of attention. And, based on the great scholarship that we see in the property area, I think that Property is alive and kicking.
Posted by: Ben Barros | Oct 27, 2010 1:53:18 PM