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83 Minn. L. Rev. 129 (1998-1999)
The Several Futures of Property: Of Cyberspace and Folk Tales, Emission Trades and Ecosystems

handle is hein.journals/mnlr83 and id is 141 raw text is: The Several Futures of Property:
Of Cyberspace and Folk Tales, Emission
Trades and Ecosystems
Carol M. Roset
Private property has long been associated with gloomy
images-the rapaciousness of various Robber Barons on the
one hand, the musty casuistry of future interests and the Rule
Against Perpetuities on the other. But in the late twentieth
century, property seems blessed with a bright, perhaps even
glamorous future. This article is an essay to predict that
future-that is, to predict at least some of the directions that
the institution of property is likely to take over the next
Property has always been one of the chief ways through
which human beings have avoided what is alleged to be the
tragedy of the commons. That is the situation in which
unowned and unmanaged common resources are available to
all, with the consequence that entrants crowd onto these
resources, overusing them and underinvesting in their
maintenance and improvement.I One chief rival to property in
allaying the tragedy has been a system of directives from
above: command and control governmental regimes avoid the
t For helpful comments, I would like to thank especially Jamie Boyle,
Hanoch Dagan, Robert Ellickson, Daniel Esty, Daniel Farber, Katherine
Franke, Richard Lazarus, Alison Rieser, John Setear, Sylvia Tesh, Michael
Treanor, Laura Underkuffler-Freund, and the participants at the AALS
Washington workshop on property law (June 1997) and law faculty workshops
at Fordham, Georgetown, the University of Virginia, and Yale. For able
research assistance, I thank Shelley White. Special thanks to the University
of Minnesota Law School for inviting me to give the Lockhart Lecture on
which this article is based.
L See Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons, 162 SCI. 1243,
1244 (1968); see also H. Scott Gordon, The Economic Theory of a Common-
Property Resource: The Fishery, 62 J. POL. ECON. 124, 134 (1954) (giving an
earlier version of the theory of the tragedy of the commons).

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