Privatization of Government Property

From: N
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2018 9:23 AM
Subject: Homestead Principle
Hello Dr. Block, I was interested in knowing your opinion on how state property would be allocated if we achieved a libertarian society. Would you be in favor of having state property be re homesteaded by individuals or would you prefer another method? In addition, would you favor any reparations by state employees to the taxpayers after we achieved a libertarian society? Thank you for your great work.

Dear N: There is a gigantic libertarian literature on privatization. Here is some of it (hint: it doesn’t include auctioning it off, because then the government gets the proceeds, and it already has far too much money):

Anderson and Hill, 1996; Block, 2002, 2009; Block and Nelson, 2015; Butler, 1988; Carnis, 2003; Ebeling, 2013; Hanke, 1987A, 1987B; Hannesson, 2004, 2006; Hoppe, 2011; Karpoff, 2001; Megginson, 2001; Moore, 1987; Moore and Butler, 1987; Motichek, Block and Johnson, 2008; Nelson and Block, forthcoming; Ohashi, 1980; Ohashi, Roth, Spindler, McMillan and Norrie, 1980; Pirie, 1986; Rothbard, ; Savas, 1987; Walker, 1988; White, 1978

Anderson, Terry L. and Peter J. Hill, editors. 1996. The privatization process : a worldwide perspective, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Block, Walter E. 2002. “Radical Privatization and other Libertarian Conundrums,” The International Journal of Politics and Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 165-175;

Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute;; available for free here:;;; audio:;;

Block, Walter E. and Peter Lothian Nelson. 2015. Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers. New York City, N.Y.: Lexington Books; Rowman and Littlefield;

Butler, Eamonn, ed., 1988, The Mechanics of Privatization, London: Adam Smith Institute

Carnis, Laurent. 2003. “The Case for Road Privatization: A Defense by Restitution.” Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines. Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 95-116

Ebeling, Richard. 2013. “Why Not Privatize Foreign Policy?”

Hanke, Steve H., ed., 1987A. Privatization and Development, San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies

Hanke, Steve H. 1987B. “Privatization.” In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman, eds., The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3. London: The Macmillan Press, Ltd.: 976-77.

Hannesson, Rögnvaldur. 2004. The Privatization of the Oceans, in D.R. Leal (Ed.): Evolving Property Rights in Marine Fisheries, Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 25-48.

Hannesson, Rögnvaldur. 2006. The Privatization of the Oceans. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2011. “Of Private, Common, and Public Property and the Rationale for Total Privatization,” Libertarian Papers 3, 1.

Karpoff, Jonathan M. 2001. “Public versus Private Initiative in Arctic Exploration: The Effects of Incentives and Organizational Structure,” The Journal of Political Economy, 109 (1): 38-78.

Megginson, W. Netter, J. 2001. “From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization.” Journal of Economic Literature, 39(2): 321-89.

Moore, Stephen. 1987. “Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service,” in Stephen Moore and Stuart Butler, eds., Privatization, Washington: Heritage Foundation.

Moore, Stephen and Stuart Butler, eds., 1987. Privatization, Washington: Heritage Foundation.

Motichek, Amy, Walter E. Block and Jay Johnson. 2008. “Forget Ocean Front Property, We Want Ocean Real Estate!” Ethics, Place, and Environment; Vol. 11, Issue 2, June, pp. 147 – 155;; – v1111, Issue 2, June, pp. 147 – 155

Nelson, Peter Lothian and Walter E. Block. Forthcoming, 2018. Space capitalism: the case for privatizing space travel and colonization. Palgrave Macmillan

Ohashi, T.M. 1980. Privatization, theory and practice : distributing shares in private and public enterprise. The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C.

Ohashi, T.M., T.P. Roth, Z.A. Spindler, M.L. McMillan, & K.H. Norrie. 1980. Privation Theory & Practice, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C.

Pirie, Madson, 1986, Privatization in Theory and Practice, London: Adam Smith Institute
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Rothbard, Murray N. 2018. “How to Desocialize.” February 18;

Savas, E. S. 1987. Privatization. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House Publishers.

Walker, Michael A. 1988. ed., Privatization: Tactics and Techniques, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

White, Lawrence H., 1978, “Privatization of municipally-provided services,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Summer, pp. 187-197


12:12 am on February 17, 2018