Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives

Michael A. Heller and James Salzman. Doubleday, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-54472-6
Heller (The Gridlock Economy), a professor of real estate law at Columbia Law School, and Salzman (Drinking Water), an environmental law professor at UCLA, examine how competing principles of ownership shape human behavior in this illuminating account. According to Heller and Salzman, there are only six stories that “everyone uses to claim everything.” They walk readers through each of these concepts, contending, for example, that foraging laws, copyright regulations, and mineral extraction rights all involve competing ownership principles of labor (“You and you alone deserve to reap what you sow”), possession (“This is mine because I’m holding on to it”), and attachment (“It’s mine because it’s connected to something that’s mine”). By identifying these principles and understanding them as rival stories rather than hard-and-fast rules, voters and lawmakers will be better equipped to deal with issues such as climate change and the social costs of the sharing economy, according to Heller and Salzman. They stuff their survey with intriguing legal cases and historical lessons and display flashes of wit. Readers will gain fresh insights into the law and society from this entertaining and instructive guide. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/16/2020
Release date: 03/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-385-54473-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-525-56550-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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