Strong enforcement of property rights is good for economic growth, says the conventional wisdom. The link may not be as clear cut, says Suresh Naidu. He and co-investigator Jeremiah Dittmar are digging through court records and newspaper ads on runaway slaves to come up with a measure of property rights enforcement. The hypothesis is that weak enforcement of property rights in people – slavery that is – discouraged investment in slaves and encouraged investment in manufacturing and infrastructure instead. A new angle on the link between property rights and economic growth – this is new economic thinking.But if you had strong enforcement of property rights you wouldn't have slavery in the first place. Slavery is after all a rather obvious violation of property rights: the property right that says we own ourselves. Slavery is not, by definition, a voluntary act, ownership in you is taken from you by force, so I can't follow the "logic" of the quote above.
Monday, 21 May 2012
Slavery and property rights
Having just come across The Institute for New Economic Thinking Blog I started reading some of the posts there and am more than just a bit puzzled by the following comment