Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State

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Property systems are coercive. Robert Hale points out in 1923: [T]he systems advocated by professed upholders of laissez-faire are in reality permeated with coercive restrictions of individual freedom and with restrictions, moreover, out of conformity with any formula of "equal opportunity" or of "preserving the equal rights of others." A difficult read.

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What is the government doing when it 'protects a property right'? Passively, it is abstaining from interference with the owner when he deals with the thing owned; actively, it is forcing the non-owner to desist from handling it, unless the owner consents... The non-owner is forbidden to handle the owner's property even where his handling of it involves no violence or force whatever. Any lawyer could [tell] that the right of property is much more extensive than the mere right to protection against forcible dispossession. In protecting property the government is doing something quite apart from merely keeping the peace. It is exerting coercion wherever that is necessary to protect each owner, not merely from violence, but also from peaceful infringement of his sole right to enjoy the thing owned.
Robert Hale (1923), "Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive StateCoercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State", Political Science Quarterly, V. 38, N. 3 (Sep): 470-494.
But a careful scrutiny ... will demonstrate that the systems advocated by professed upholders of laissez-faire are in reality permeated with coercive restrictions of individual freedom, and with restrictions, moreover, out of conformity with any formula of 'equal opportunity' or of 'preserving the equal rights of others'.
Robert Hale (1923), "Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive StateCoercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State", Political Science Quarterly, V. 38, N. 3 (Sep): 470-494.