Thursday, April 10, 2014
Gerhart's on Property Law and Social Morality
Peter Gerhart (Case Western) has a new book, Property Law and Social Morality (Cambridge U. Press), that many readers should find interesting. From the publisher:
Peter Gerhart has published a book entitled Property Law and Social Morality with Cambridge University Press. The book develops a theory of property that highlights the social construction of obligations that individuals owe each other. By viewing property law through the lens of responsibility rather than the lens of rights, the author affirms the existence of important property rights (when no obligation to another exists) and defines the scope of those rights (when an obligation to another does exist). By describing the scope of the decisions that individuals are permitted to make and the requirements of other-regarding decisions, the author develops a single theory to explain the dynamics of private and common property, including exclusion, nuisance, shared decision making, and decision making over time. The author also develops an evolutionary theory that shows how property and markets embody social recognition norms. Because the theory reflects the principle of equality, the author recommends that the Supreme Court replace the regulatory takings doctrine with a limitation on government power based on equal treatment of owners.