Who Should Own Dead Bodies? Part II

From: T
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2019 3:50 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Who Should Own Dead Bodies?

Hi Walter,

I enjoyed your short interchange with “N” about who should own dead bodies. I agree with your position.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/who-should-own-dead-bodies/

But I have a question of my own:

“Who is responsible for dead bodies?” When I was in the city of Belem, Brazil at the mouth of the Amazon River just south of the equator in 1990, I saw a large graveyard in the center of the city. As in New Orleans, due to the high water table; bodies were buried in small mausoleums above ground. These were usually made of concrete.

As you know, concrete and the tropics are not a good match. I saw many mausoleums falling apart and skeletons falling out of them onto the ground. The Belemese thought nothing of this. But I wondered about diseases that might be carried by these suddenly exposed skeletons and corpses.  Who is liable for disease from a corpse falling out of an abandoned mausoleum in a graveyard?  Of course I realize it would be hard to prove a causal trail from the suddenly exposed cadaver to deaths of the living. It really was something to see. All these skeletons falling out onto the ground. It was always Halloween in Belem. T

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2019 9:05 AM

To: T

Subject: RE: Who Should Own Dead Bodies?

Dear T:

The graveyard owner would be responsible. He accepted the dead bodies onto his land. I posit that the contract would have made him responsible for them. I’m no Coasean. I don’t say this because he would be the least cost avoider of the problem. I say this because I predict, expect, that the contract would have stipulated precisely that.

Here’s a critique of Ronald Coaseanism:

Austro libertarian critics of Coasean law and economics:: Coase critics:

Barnett and Block, 2005, 2007, 2009; Block 1977, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2010A, 2010B, 2010C, 2011; Block, Barnett and Callahan, 2005; Bylund, 2014; Cordato, 1989, 1992a, 1992b, 1997, 1998, 2000; DiLorenzo, 2014; Fox, 2007; Hoppe, 2004; Krause, 1999; Krecke, 1996; Lewin, 1982; North, 1990, 1992, 2002; Rothbard, 1982, 1997; Stringham, 2001; Stringham and White, 2004; Terrell, 1999; Wysocki, 2017.

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2005. “Professor Tullock on Austrian Business Cycle Theory,” Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 8, pp. 431-443

Barnett, William II and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Coase and Van Zandt on Lighthouses,” Public Finance Review, Vol. 35, No. 6, November, pp. 710-733; http://pfr.sagepub.com/content/35/6/710

Barnett, William and Walter E. Block. 2009. “Coase and Bertrand on Lighthouses,” Public Choice; 140(1–2):1–13, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11127-008-9375-x

Block, Walter E. 1977. “Coase and Demsetz on Private Property Rights,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. I, No. 2, Spring, pp. 111-115, http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/1_2/1_2_4.pdf; reprint translation: “Coase y Demsetz sobre el derecho de propiedad privada,” Libertas 37, Octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp.5-20.

Block, Walter E. 1995. “Ethics, Efficiency, Coasean Property Rights and Psychic Income: A Reply to Demsetz,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 61-125, http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae8_2_4.pdfhttp://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/r82_4.pdf; reprint translation: “Ética, eficiencia, derechos de propiedad Coasianos e ingreso psíquico: una respuesta a Demsetz,” Libertas 37, octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp. 71-210

Block, Walter 1996. “O.J.’s Defense: A Reductio Ad Absurdum of the Economics of Ronald Coase and Richard Posner,” European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 3, pp. 265-286; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block_oj’s-defense.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2000. “Private Property Rights, Erroneous Interpretations, Morality and Economics: Reply to Demsetz,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, pp. 63-78; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae3_1_8.pdf; reprint translation: “Derecho de propiedad privada, interpretaciones erróneas, moralidad y economía: en respuesta a Demsetz,” Libertas 37, octubre de 2002, año XIX, pp. 227-264

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Private property rights, economic freedom, and Professor Coase: A Critique of Friedman, McCloskey, Medema and Zorn,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 26, No. 3, Summer, pp. 923-951; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2782/is_3_26/ai_n6640908/?tag=content

Block, Walter E. 2006. “Coase and Kelo: Ominous Parallels and Reply to Lott on Rothbard on Coase,” Whittier Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 997-1022; https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/webcd/app?action=DocumentDisplay&crawlid=1&doctype=cite&docid=27+Whittier+L.+Rev.+997&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=7abe221cecca64ce06068c3cbfa36fd1

Block, Walter E. 2010A. “A Response to Brooks’ Support of Demsetz on the Coase Theorem.” Dialogue, Vol. 2; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2010/2.10.WB.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2010B. “Rejoinder to Brooks on Coase and Demsetz.” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; Vol. 13, No. 4, Winter, pp. 56-73; http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae13_4_3.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2010C. “Rejoinder to Boettke on Coasean Economics and Communism.” Romanian Economic and Business Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, Fall, pp. 9-90; http://www.rebe.rau.ro/REBE%205%203.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Rejoinder to Bertrand on lighthouses.” Romanian Economic and Business Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, Fall, pp. 49-67; http://www.rebe.rau.ro/REBE%206%203.pdf

Block, Walter E., William Barnett II and Gene Callahan. 2005. “The Paradox of Coase as a Defender of Free Markets,” NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 1075-1095; http://tinyurl.com/2hbzd4http://www.nyujll.org/articles/Vol.%201%20No.%203/Vol.%201%20No.%203%20-%20Barnett,%20Block%20and%20Callahan.pdfhttp://tinyurl.com/2hbzd4

to be reprinted in Mario Rizzo, ed. forthcoming. Austrian Law and EconomicsBylund, Per L. 2014. “Ronald Coase’s ‘nature of the firm’ and the argument for economic planning.” Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Volume 36, Number 3, September; ISSN 1053-8372 print; ISSN 1469-9656 online/14/03000 305 – 329 © The History of Economics Society, doi:10.1017/S1053837214000352

Cordato, Roy E. 1989. “Subjective Value, Time Passage, and the Economics of Harmful Effects,” Hamline Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, Spring, pp.229-244.

Cordato, Roy E. 1992a. “Knowledge Problems and the Problem of Social Cost” Journal of the History of Economic Thought, vol.14, Fall, pp. 209-224.

Cordato, Roy E. 1992b. Welfare Economics and Externalities in an Open-Ended Universe: A Modern Austrian Perspective, Boston: Kluwer.

Cordato, Roy E. 1997. “Market-Based Environmentalism and the Free Market: They’re Not the Same,” The Independent Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, Winter, pp. 371-386.

Cordato, Roy. 1998. “Time Passage and the Economics of Coming to the Nuisance: Reassessing the Coasean Perspective,” Campbell Law Review, vol. 20, No. 2, Spring, pp. 273-292

Cordato, Roy. 2000. “Chasing Phantoms in a Hollow Defense of Coase” The Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 13, No. 2, September, pp. 193-208.

DiLorenzo, Tom. 2014. “When Did Ronald Coase Become the Ayatollah of Economic Theory?” January 2; https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/01/thomas-dilorenzo/the-beltarian-cult/

Fox, Glenn. 2007. “The Real Coase Theorems.” The Cato Journal: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Public Policy Analysis. Volume 27 Number 3, Fall, pp. 373-396; http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj27n3/cj27n3-5.pdf

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 2004. “The Ethics and Economics of Private Property.” October 11; https://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe11.html

Krauss, Michael. 1999. “Tort Law, Moral Accountability, and Efficiency: Reflections on the Current Crisis” Markets and Morality, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/1999_spr/krauss.html

Krecke, Elisabeth. 1996. “Law and the Market Order: An Austrian Critique of the Economic Analysis of Law,” Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines 7(1), March, pp.19-37; Commentaries on Law&Economics, 1997 Yearbook, ed., Robert W. McGee, pp.86-109.

Lewin, Peter.  1982. “Pollution Externalities: Social Cost and Strict Liability.”  Cato Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, Spring, pp. 205-229.

North, Gary. 1990. Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus, Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics.

North, Gary. 1992. The Coase Theorem, Tyler, TX: The Institute for Christian Economics

North, Gary. 2002. “Undermining Property Rights: Coase and Becker,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 16, No. 4, Fall, pp. 75-100; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/16_4/16_4_5.pdf

Rothbard, Murray N. 1982. “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution,” Cato Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring; reprinted in Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, Walter E. Block , ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1990, pp. 233-279. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/lawproperty.pdfhttp://mises.org/story/2120

Rothbard, Murray N. 1997.  “Value Implications of Economic Theory,” Logic of Action I (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar), pp. 255-265.

Stringham, Edward Peter, and Mark White. 2004. “Economic Analysis of Tort Law: Austrian and Kantian Perspectives.” In Law and Economics: Alternative Economic Approaches to Legal and Regulatory Issues, ed. Margaret Oppenheimer and Nicholas Mercuro, 374-392. New York: M.E. Sharpe. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1676271 

Stringham, Edward. 2001. “Kaldor-Hicks Efficiency and the Problem of Central Planning,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 4, No. 2, Summer, 41-50; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae4_2_3.pdf

Terrell, Timothy D. 1999. “Property Rights and Externality: The Ethics of the Austrian School.” Journal of Markets and Morality. Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall; http://www.acton.org/publications/mandm/mandm_article_114.php

Wysocki, Igor. 2017. “Justice and Pareto-Efficiency (The Case Against Coase).” Dialogi Polityczne / Political Dialogues, pp. 33-46

Debate: Block vs. Demsetz: Block – Demsetz debate (on Ronald Coase):

1. Block, Walter E. 1977. “Coase and Demsetz on Private Property Rights,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. I, No. 2, 1977, pp. 111-115; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/1_2/1_2_4.pdf

2. Demsetz, Harold. 1979. “Ethics and Efficiency in Property Rights Systems,” in Time, Uncertainty and Disequilibrium: Explorations of Austrian Themes, Mario Rizzo, ed., Lexington Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co; http://mises.org/Books/timeuncertainty.pdf (see chapter 5)

3. Block, Walter E. 1995. “Ethics, Efficiency, Coasean Property Rights and Psychic Income: A Reply to Demsetz,” Review of Austrian Economics, 8 (2): 61-125, http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae8_2_4.pdf

4. Demsetz, Harold. 1997. “Block’s Erroneous Interpretations,” Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 101-109; http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae10_2_6.pdf

5. Block, Walter E. 2000. “Private Property Rights, Erroneous Interpretations, Morality and Economics: Reply to Demsetz,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, pp. 63-78; http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae3_1_8.pdf

*

Block-Lott Debate

Lott, John R. 1983-1984. “A Note on Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution.” Cato Journal. Volume 3 Number 3, Winter, pp. 875-878

Block responded here:

Block, Walter E. 2006. “Coase and Kelo: Ominous Parallels and Reply to Lott on Rothbard on Coase,” Whittier Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 997-1022

Lott did not reply to this Block, 2006.

Best regards,

Walter

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4:16 pm on September 26, 2019