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Richard Epstein on Happiness

My comment on a Mises blog post:

Epstein is brilliant, but his work is marred and limited by a deep and flawed utilitarianism. Re the utilitarianism of his IP views and how it leads him to unlibertarian conclusions, see Richard Epstein on “The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Property”.

In fact Epstein’s very theory and defense of (“limited”) government, as set forth in Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain, is utilitarian. It is based on the idea that government action can “increase the size of the pie” by overcoming various free-rider or public goods costs; and that from this extra wealth produced, it can fund the state actions that lead to it. (He tries to use this utilitarian pie-production metric as a filter to reject state policies that do not clearly lead to growth in the pie, and while an admirable try, it is unrigorous and can’t really limit government.)

Published: July 10, 2009 7:39 AM

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