In the previous chapter, I quoted Hume’s claim that the law of property is, at root, a convention that has evolved spontaneously — that ‘arises gradually, and acquires force by a slow progression, and by our repeated experience of the inconvenience of transgressing it’ (Hume, 1740, Book 3, Part 2, Section 2; and Section 3.4 above). In this chapter and the next, I shall ask whether Hume could be right: I shall ask whether, in the absence of any formal system of law, self-enforcing rules of property could evolve out of the interactions of individuals concerned only with their own interests.
KeywordsLibrium Rium Defend Stake Alloca
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