Yet Another Function for the Numerus Clausus Principle of Property Rights, and a Useful One at That
29 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 19, 2012
In recent years increased attention has been paid to the numerus clausus principle – the recognition of a limited, though not fully closed, set of property entitlements. An impressive number of rationales (eight by my tally) for that principle have already been offered. In this paper I claim that these arguments are incomplete. I argue that the presence of impediments to the termination of property rights suggests the need for caution in their initial recognition, because doctrinal mistakes cannot easily be corrected. On that view, numerus clausus serves as an instantiation of what is sometimes called the precautionary principle: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Keywords: property theory, numerus clausus
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