Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to counteract Epstein's views on the alienability of property. Epstein favors limitations of laissez-faire capitalism regarding such things as guns, liquor, narcotics, certain books and voting and this paper aims to criticize them from the perspective of full, free enterprise. Design/methodology/approach – The main method is that of the reductio ad absurdum. For example, Epstein favors prior restraint on books giving information as to how an atomic bomb may be built. He does so on grounds that such information can be extremely harmful. Marxist books are far more harmful. Yet Epstein would not ban them. So his case for prior restraint is undermined. Findings – Epstein's case for restrictions on alienability is unfounded. Practical implications – If the message of the paper is incorporated into public policy, the practical implication is that any move in the direction of laissez-faire capitalism will be much closer than by implementing Epstein's recommendations. Originality/value – This paper should interest people concerned about how much government regulation of the economy is justified. What is new is that Epstein, one of the most extreme defenders of the minimal state, is not a full advocate of this position. His arguments for exceptions to free enterprise private property rights system are untenable.
Capitalist systems, Political economy, Product liability, Property, Regulation
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