Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Potentiality, Actuality, and “Stick”-Theory


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The “Bundle of Rights” picture of property purports to explain the facilitative aspect of the powers that go with ownership by treating potential property interests that an owner may confer as pre-existing rights that an owner may transfer to others. This misleads, rather than enlightens, confusing potentiality with actuality. Importantly, it also draws our attention away from the difficult conceptual issue regarding the transfer of rights.