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KOL414 | Corporations, Limited Liability, and the Title Transfer Theory of Contract, with Jeff Barr: Part I


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast: Episode 414.

Regarding this post, Libertarian Answer Man: Breach of Contract, Binding Obligations, and Impossibility, my old and longtime buddy Jeff Barr, a brilliant attorney and legal scholar and fellow Hoppean-Rothbardian (Jeff studied at UNLV under Rothbard and Hoppe),1  discussed these issues in further depth today. (Part 2: KOL418 | Corporations, Limited Liability, and the Title Transfer Theory of Contract, with Jeff Barr: Part II.)

Jeff and I, it turns out, to my surprise (given past discussions), agree mostly on corporate limited liability,2 and Jeff claims to also agree with the Rothbard-Evers take on contracts—the title-transfer theory. We also agree on terminology, legal issues, possession vs. ownership, and so on.3  Yet Jeff still thinks that failure/inability to pay a future debt is “theft,” much like Rothbard (and Block) view this as “implicit theft,” thus justifying in principle debtor’s prison, although Barr thinks the theft is not even implicit; he thinks it’s explicit theft. This is the crux of our disagreement.

We talked about some preliminary matters first to make sure we are on the same page, and ended with this disagreement. Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, and identified some terminology and common ground, we may pick this up in a future discussion. More to come.

  1. See Murray Rothbard as a Teacher: The UNLV Years—A Panel with Rothbard’s Former Students (AERC 2023). []
  2. See my post Corporate Personhood, Limited Liability, and Double Taxation. []
  3. Libertarian Answer Man: Self-ownership for slaves and Crusoe; and Yiannopoulos on Accurate Analysis and the term “Property”; Mises distinguishing between juristic and economic categories of “ownership”. []
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Julian Smith August 12, 2023, 2:52 am

    That was a great share. Thanks to each of you for recording and sharing this discussion.

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