Selling State Borders
65 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013 Last revised: 22 Dec 2015
Date Written: January 2014
Sovereign territory was bought and sold throughout much of American history, and there are good reasons to think that an interstate market for borders could help solve many contemporary economic and political problems. But no such market currently exists. Why not? And could an interstate market for sovereign territory help simplify border disputes, resolve state budget crises, respond to exogenous shocks like river accretion, and improve democratic responsiveness? Focusing on the sale of borders among American states, this Article offers constitutional, political, and ethical answers to the first question, and a qualified yes to the second.
Keywords: Borders, Interstate Compacts, Federalism, Alienability, Commodification, Sovereignty
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