Destroying Property to Protect Property

Have the writers at the Babylon Bee been reading Pete Leeson and / or Doug Allen?

Probably not. But a recent article nicely illustrates the idea that sometimes the least-costly means of protecting wealth is to destroy some portion of it. Such a destructive act makes the wealth less attractive to would-be violators of the property right.

Doug Allen explores the idea here, while Pete Leeson does here. Of course, it should go without saying that there is nothing normative about either Allen’s or Leeson’s work, but it bears emphasizing particularly with regard to the latter. He’s simply trying to provide a positive account of a barbaric practice. I don’t know anyone who would conclude that the Konds’ approach to protecting property rights (which Leeson describes) was “good.”

Ennio and Louis Rouanet integrate this thinking on property rights with the calculation argument here.

HT: My student Ben Seevers alerted me to the Babylon Bee article.

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