Wednesday, June 23, 2004

More from Sunstein

Cass Sunstein, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, is guest-blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy. His first post provoked this response from me. Now he says, "A system of free markets isn't law-free; it depends on law. Property rights, as we enjoy and live them, are a creation of law; they don't predate law."

Please get it right, professor. Free markets and property rights have existed and still exist without being protected by or codified in law. But free markets (which rest on property rights) operate more efficiently when markets and property are protected by law from force and fraud. It is therefore a legitimate function of law (government) to protect free markets and to codify property rights. That isn't "government intervention", as Sunstein (or is it his hero, FDR?) calls it. No, that is simply government acting in its proper, nightwatchman role.

When government goes beyond its proper role to actively intervene in free markets and destroy property rights, it harms everyone (except selected interest groups) by making markets inefficient.

Note to the University of Chicago's economics department: Please give Professor Sunstein a lecture in the principles of microeconomics -- now!