Rock, Paper, Scissors
By Amy Willis
Voluntary exchange is good, right? It’s a foundational principle of economics, and probably one of the most revered. Why then would the law purposefully not allow some kinds of voluntary exchange? What principles trump property rights and contract? And can we who love markets be OK with that? These are some of the many head-scratching questions Russ Roberts explores in this episode with Leo Katz, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania.
This week’s conversation sure made me think…How about you? Use some of our prompts to start your own conversations off-line.
1. Three main “stories” Katz uses in this conversation to show the occasional perversity in the law are the kidney club, the voting paradox, and emergency room triage. Which of these scenarios (long live Al, Bea, and Chloe!) seemed most counter-intuitive to you, and why? 2. Why do people seem to have such reverence for majority rule? If ,majority rule really is like playing rock, paper, scissors, what would be the best alternative and why?
3. Let’s return to Katz’s stories…In the triage example, who should get treated first- Al, Bea, or Chloe? Why (and perhaps never mind what Katz tells us about the reality of the law for the moment.) On what principle is your answer based?
4. How about the kidney club? Would you join one? What would be more efficacious in getting kidneys to needful recipients- a club or a market, such as the one in Iran? Why?