Sovereignty as Property: Rediscovering the Economic Foundations of Sovereignty in International Law
International Law – Revista Colombiana de Derecho Internacional, núm. 8, junio-noviembre, 2006, pp. 195-229 (2006)
36 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 20, 2006
Sovereignty and the right to property share a common function, and may be seen as equivalent. This paper intends to argue such equivalence. In order to do so, it builds on COASE’s economic theory of property, and shows a close relation between COASE’s Theorem and the work of Thomas Hobbes, which has, in turn, set much of the basic framework of modern international law. This interjection serves as the starting point for comparing Hobbes’ Commonwealth with property rights, but finds considerable differences in their nature. However, these differences are not present when comparing property with the Commonwealth’s main feature: sovereignty. By applying certain methodological tools of comparative law, these similarities lead us to conclude that sovereignty and property, as legal institutions, follow the same logic, a conclusion that will be useful for further theorization on international law & economics.
Keywords: international law, sovereignity, property, Thomas Hobbes, Coase's Theorem
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