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Ugo Pagano

Evolutionary game theory has been used to defend the view that private property has evolved from the struggle for possession. The chapter demonstrates that in the absence of a collective definition and enforcement of what is considered legitimate possession this conclusion is unwarranted. A combination of John Stuart Mill’s theory of liberty and Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld’s analysis of legal rights shows that private property is a special case of human rights and liberties, more suitably explained by sexual and group selection, with the implication that uncontested possession evolves from property rights rather than the reverse. Property rights can generate uncontested possession of rival goods but also artificially limit the potentially universal possession of non-rival goods. The latter aspect underpins modern capitalism and the so-called knowledge economy, where intellectual property rights to knowledge can become an obstacle to economic development by limiting liberty and implying high transaction costs.

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Ugo Pagano

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Ugo Pagano

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Ugo Pagano

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Ugo Pagano

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Antonio Nicita and Ugo Pagano