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Binary Economics and Property Rights Seminar: (3 cr)
LAW 838
One of the most important duties of lawyers is to help people identify and secure their essential rights and responsibilities. Serving clients effectively requires that lawyers ask the right questions. When addressing economic rights, here are nine important questions: (1) Why does wealth tend to concentrate in market economies even in times of great prosperity? (2) Why does the great promise of the industrial revolution (abundance and leisure) remain unfulfilled for most people? (3) Why does every generation of students graduate deeper in debt? (4) What is behind the adage, “It takes money to make money”? (5) How can more economic opportunity become more broadly distributed? (6) What are the growth and distributive consequences of the fact that most capital is acquired with the earnings of capital? (7) Is there a practical, efficient way to enable all people to acquire capital with the earnings of capital, without taking anything from existing owners? (8) What is the relationship between the distribution of capital ownership and the functioning of a democracy? (9) What role can lawyers play in pursuing these and related questions to better serve their clients, themselves, and society? This seminar will explore these and related questions. The seminar will not require an above average mathematical aptitude or prior exposure to economics, but rather only an open mind and a willingness to approach economic issues from a foundation grounded in professional responsibility. Students will read assigned material, do additional reading of their own choosing, make an in-class presentation (optional), and write a paper that will satisfy the writing requirement for graduation.

Taught By:
Robert Ashford