Suresh Naidu - Property Rights and Growth: Lessons from Slavery

Strong enforcement of property rights is good for economic growth, says the conventional wisdom. The link may not be as clear cut, says Suresh Naidu. He and co-investigator Jeremiah Dittmar are digging through court records and newspaper ads on runaway slaves to come up with a measure of property rights enforcement. The hypothesis is that weak enforcement of property rights in people – slavery that is – discouraged investment in slaves and encouraged investment in manufacturing and infrastructure instead. A new angle on the link between property rights and economic growth – this is new economic thinking.

About Suresh Naidu

Suresh is an Assistant Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. One strand of his research has looked at the political economy of coercive labor markets in the post-bellum US South and 19th century England. Another strand has looked at the economic incidence of political transitions. More...

Comments

0

Having been born in India and living now in Brazil, I think Suresh and Jeremaih are on to something that will make a contribution to the better understanding of economics and progress.

0

With all due respect, I think you need to consider the legal rationales for slavery before supposing it is an issue of economics related to property rights.

Since you are collecting numerous slavery cases you will able to see the law for yourself.

Hint: It ain't about race.

0

Yes! this is original thinking! The connection between property rights and slavery had never crossed my mind.

0

Yes, A new angle on the link between property rights and economic growth .
I appreciate Suresh Naidu presentation, in fact he rediscover the relation between proprerty rights and economic growth .In economic history ,the level of the economic growth is directly subordonated to property rights stability . In my opinion the most important direction is to determine the relation between the corporationst economic system and enforcement/corodation of property rights.
Slavery image is nothing more than a result of corporativ subsystem disfuctional behavior in social-economic system.
As an subsystem in Social Economic System, this subsystem , was wrong empowerd with rights to modify directly or indirecty the scop, means, and behaivior of other subsystems within Social-Economic System.In other words, Corporationst System became the owner of the society.
So, what can be done for corrction?
Is not simple answer! but, general ideia is first to restore the property rights at the real value, and trough this to determie the Corporationist system to be adapted at the new requierments.Other important question is ? what is real value? and who is in charge to define and meassure the real value?

Probably slave image, described by Suresh Naidu is part of Corporationist subsystem behaivior in society.

0

Hi Suresh, I really liked your approach to disentangling the slavery phenomenon. Have you looked at Erik Reinert and his "How Poor Countries..." and his discussions here and elsewhere of the property rights' history from old Italy onwards? There seems to be a need for a critical look at current IPR laws and how it hurts development, and in particularly the rich. Is there a balance to be found between sound and over-IPR-asation?

0

While I think this is interesting, it is also a little disturbing in that it ignores the ethical questions related to property rights. My fear would be there's a subtext to the argument that to subordinate one persons wants needs and desires to the greater good is not itself slavery. Everyone recognizes the nobility of willingly working for the welfare of another, but there's a disturbing ethical line that gets crossed when you force others to work for the the greater good, because that effectively turns those being forced into serfs working for the wants needs and desires of the majority.

0

'It'? What is 'it'?

Sorry, I don't understand this comment. Would you mind making the effort to be a little more articulate?

0

Fairly bizarre claim. Slavery is a fundamental violation of property rights, in this case one's property in oneself i.e., self-ownership. Suresh Naidu is tilting at windmills I'm afraid.

0

I do not see any anomoly here. Weak slavery property rights led to low investment in slaves and investments in other activities. What is so big deal about this

0

Thanks for the information. Keep on writing.
hello

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