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Property and the Police

The concept of property is developed in two new directions. One concerns the problem of eminent domain and evokes the ancient conflict between individual rights and collective needs – in what circumstances, and to what extent, should private property be protected against uncompensated taking by government? How do the different theories of property considered earlier each answer this question? The other asks how voluntary exchange can be organized when technology makes it easy for people to take others' property rights without compensation. If existing rights are insufficient to prevent these takings from occurring on a large enough scale to make voluntary exchange impossible, new kinds of property rights are needed to encourage efficient levels of production and exchange. This is illustrated by the problem of intellectual goods and the new forms of property that have evolved over centuries to make exchange in ideas possible.

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