Ordering the Cosmos: Private Law and Celestial Property Rights

27 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016 Last revised: 9 Nov 2016

Alexander William Salter

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business

Date Written: September 19, 2016

Abstract

The 2015 SPACE Act aims to promote wealth creation by guaranteeing protection of US citizens’ property rights to celestial resources. But there are serious concerns that government protection of space property claims are incompatible with international law. I propose a purely private legal system for space commerce as an alternative to government-defined and enforced property rights. Economic theory shows how property rights and rules for adjudicating disputes can be self-enforcing. Economic history shows that such a system has worked well for centuries in international trade. A private legal commercial order for space is thus both feasible and desirable.

Keywords: Law merchant, Outer Space Treaty, private law, sovereignty, SPACE Act, space commerce, space law

JEL Classification: D23, H10, K11, K33, P14

Suggested Citation

Salter, Alexander William, Ordering the Cosmos: Private Law and Celestial Property Rights (September 19, 2016). Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2840856

Alexander William Salter (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

HOME PAGE: http://awsalter.com

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