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Law Business and Society

Autor:   •  October 10, 2018  •  Essay  •  3,621 Words (15 Pages)  •  75 Views

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Professor Buchanan

Law Business and Society

8 April 2018

Problem Set #2

  1. Jeremy Bentham wrote that “The idea of property consists in an established expectation.” What does he mean by this? What is this expectation, and why is it one of the most important concepts in law? Be specific and rigorous. Use Bentham’s words and other concepts from our classnotes, and some examples from class to support your analysis.

Jeremy Bentham came up with the idea that property consists in an established expectation. According to Bentham, “property is nothing but a basis of expectation; the expectation of deriving certain advantages from a thing which we are said to possess, in consequence of the relation in which we stand toward it.” He particularly emphasizes on the constitutive relation between law and property. He strongly believed that property and law co-exist. In the absence of law, there would be no benefits of having property. Property can only exist if its institution is protected through the regulations in our society so that the owner of the property can expect to have benefited from owning it without being worried that other people can steal each other’s property. Therefore, the law and the legislator ensure the property owner has today will also be available in the future. For example, if I purchase a car today, I know that the law will protect my car from being stolen and guarantees that it will stay in my garage tomorrow. This might sound obvious and common sense to all of us because we are so accustomed to these kinds of property rights; however, others might feel insecure in some areas where the concept is not enforced and established. For instance, there used to be a time when all men had to protect their property physically. This method of possession is very risky and miserable and possibly generates myriads of conflicts in the society. This is where the law comes in as Bentham explains, “a strong and permanent expectation results from law alone: that which was only a thread in a state of nature, becomes a cable, so to speak, in a state of society.” Basically, as Jeremy Bentham defines “established expectations,” property law allows owners to be certain of future expectation of benefits from their property.

As Bentham explains, “property and law are born together and die together. Before laws were made there was no property; take away laws, and property ceases.” It is extremely important to realize how property law is the basis of most of laws in our society. Without property rights, there can be no actual market. Enforcing property rights is the most basic necessity for a functioning economy and lack of them is the largest drawback on our form of society since the benefits of labors (money or property) could be taken away for any reason or no reason at all if there is no enforcement. In other words, if property does not consist in an established expectation, nobody would be willing to produce anything.


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