Wednesday, 10 February 2010


This is interesting:
When China reinstituted private property beyond household goods around 1979, there were fewer than 1000 lawyers in the whole country. The very limited private enterprises initially allowed there required training a fairly large group of people who defined what property rights meant in a system where "law" meant very little beyond "what the prosecutor said." Spence's big book was my starting point for reading about the period. Hu Yaoband was a central figure in the subsequent conflicts, an easy way to keep track of things is to look at who attacked him.
The notion that 'the law' exists primarily to protect the vested interests of property is hardly a new one, of course; but it's striking how hard to shift the notion that 'the law' is 'about' violent crime and murder (the more dramatic, and therefore dramatised, versions of it). But what interests me here is the thought that, mostly, violent crime is a fairly straightforward legal business, at least when compared with proeprty crime; and that this latter is because 'violence' exists in the world in a way 'property', really, doesn't.

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