20 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2014 Last revised: 1 Mar 2015
Date Written: January 15, 2014
Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits the extension of territorial sovereignty to celestial bodies and prevents sovereigns from supporting private citizens’ property rights in such bodies, resulting in celestial anarchy. This paper argues that such anarchy poses no problem for sustaining enforceable private property rights in outer space. Economic theory and reality demonstrate that privately enforced property rights can and do emerge under terrestrial anarchy, suggesting that private enforcement can also sustain a property rights regime under celestial anarchy. Economically, at least, celestial anarchy is no threat to flourishing outer-space commerce.
Keywords: Anarchy, Law Merchant, Outer Space Treaty, private governance, property rights, self-enforcing exchange, sovereignty, space commerce, space law
JEL Classification: D23, H10, K11, K33, K39, P14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation