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Menger on Scarcity, Law and Property Rights

“Thus human economy and property have a joint economic origin since both have, as the ultimate reason for their existence, the fact that goods exist whose available quantities are smaller than the requirements of men. Property, therefore, like human economy, is not an arbitrary invention but rather the only practically possible solution of the problem that is, in the nature of things, imposed upon us by the disparity between requirements for, and available quantities of, all economic goods.”

—Carl Menger, Principles of Economics, ch. II, §3A.

See also Heath Pearson, Origins of Law and Economics: The Economists’ New Science of Law, 1830–1930 (Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics), p. 151; and Josef Sima, “Praxeology as Law & Economics,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 18, no. 2 (Spring 2004), pp. 73–89, at 78.

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