Abstract: James P. Sterba postulates a conflict situation between ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ persons in order to establish the legitimacy of a welfare right superior to unlimited private property rights. Sterba does not recognize the moral options available to the non-poor in his conflict scenario, nor the generally voluntary character of enduring unemployment, or how few people would satisfy his own restrictive criteria for poverty. His definition mischaracterizes the general state of the poor as one of imminent decline when in fact, for most of human history it was one of stasis, and since comparatively free societies emerged, it has been one of general improvement. He fails to grasp that the processes by which others become non-poor in a libertarian society also make most of the poor better off. Consequently, consideration of future generations also turns out to weigh heavily against justification of a welfare right, contrary to Sterba’s claim.
Abstract: Progressive legal theorist Daniel Crane has argued that libertarians who believe that monopoly results from government intervention should accept antitrust law because the monopoly problem is a result of state government passage of General Incorporation Acts after the Civil War. The resulting corporate consolidation and control of industry necessitated federal antitrust law as a corrective. Crane has all of this wrong. State permission for incorporation was an ancient tool of mercantile grants of monopoly still in practice by state legislatures in the early 19th century, and the General Incorporation Acts were a major expression of a successful Jacksonian antimonopoly policy.