Gregory Alexander, ‘Of Buildings, Statues, Art, and Sperm: The Right to Destroy and the Duty to Preserve’

Abstract
Markets require some sort of property rights, including transferability. Without transferable property rights market relations cannot get off the ground. Moreover, markets assume that these rights refer to some resource, some thing that is the object of the market relationship. In this sense property is, as some commentators recently have argued, about things. Saying that property is about things doesn’t tell us very much, though. It tells us nothing about the sorts of things that are the object of property rights, and it gives no indication whether property rights are uniform and fixed regardless of the sort of thing involved. Things are not all of a piece; pencils are not Picassos. There is no good reason to think that the law of property should treat all things alike. Modularity can take us only so far. Property law does and should make distinctions regarding the rights that owners have or don’t have and the extent of those rights depending upon the sorts of things they own …

Alexander, Gregory S, Of Buildings, Statues, Art, and Sperm: The Right to Destroy and the Duty to Preserve (July 30, 2018). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Volume 27, No 3, Spring 2018; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No 18-38.

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