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Questions and Themes Addressed by PCSE

Consistent with the above stated mission we will focus on the understanding of property in a market context. The specific themes and objectives of our work are outlined below. Legal infrastructure, and in particular a system of property rights, are generally considered essential to economic development and successful market economies. In recent years property rights have been advanced as the key to reducing transaction costs, correcting for problems raised by the tragedy of the commons, and for organizing society in a way that fosters sustainable economic development. Our goal is to explore the legal infrastructure of property in broad terms -- encompassing concerns for real, personal, intangible, and intellectual property, as well as looking at property related financial markets (including real estate mortgages, personal property security interests, licensing, and securitization). Making reference to specific examples of property (in its various forms) we will address five overarching questions. The five questions (themes) we will address are stated below.

1)  To what extent does property law either hinder or facilitate community participation and inclusion of persons with special needs; including persons with disabilities, the elderly, and the poor?  In what ways can property law and policy advance greater inclusion and the development of more Supportive Communities so that all people enjoy access to the benefits of full citizenship within the broader community?  And, how can these concerns be best understood and addressed at the local, national, and global levels?

2) To what extent do property rights reduce or eliminate the need for government regulation (particularly 'command and control' regulation) while enhancing the environment for open market approaches to economic development and globalization? This includes consideration of the way in which property rights actually reduce transaction costs, correct for problems raised by the tragedy of the commons, and organize society in a way that fosters efficient economic development.

3) What is the role of privatization of State controlled property in the transformation process? How should privatization be approached and what distinctions need to be made between public, private, and state property? This includes discussion of necessary support infrastructure for successful privatization, and consideration of the need for government control over private companies dealing with public utilities, natural resources, and transportation systems.

4) To what extent do property rights enhance citizenship and advance democratic institutions? What role does private property play in creating political elites and the structures needed for controlled development and social transformation? How can property rights be used to make the 'rule of law' more tangible, and to promote civic participation and inclusion? How are property rights related to citizenship issues respecting matters of race, gender, ethnicity, urban or rural location, and other factors?

5) In a world where property rights and access to ownership are of central importance, how might we ensure the full inclusion of the poor, the elderly, and persons with disabilities?

7) In a world of global financial institutions such as the European Development Bank, The World Bank, and the IMF, with the power to influence indirect or quasi-law making, how are global property law systems to develop and become institutionalized? How do these institutions facilitate problems related to globalization and harmonization, and what are the socio-legal implications from such activity?

6) To what extent do property rights promote entrepreneurism, including social entrepreneurism focusing on values other than mere maximization of economic wealth and efficiency? How can property rights fuel economic development while helping to reduce poverty?