The reading for this module – “The Idea and Ideal of Capitalism” — provided an account of what capitalism is, and also presented some of the main arguments for capitalism.
For writing assignment for module 8, please answer the following.
Under pure capitalism, the range of private property as well the bundle of rights this involves should be “maximal.” What does this mean, and do you agree with it? Do people own themselves, and does this imply that they should be able to sell themselves into slavery? Should they be able to sell their body parts? Should they be able to sell their labor as sex workers?
Explain the polysilicon factory examples. How do tradeable property rights lead to an efficient allocation of resources in the first example, where pollution is legally permitted? And how do they lead to an efficient allocation in the second example, where pollution is legally prohibited? And how is this connected to the idea that government intervention isn’t necessary for avoiding problematic externalities? (For these examples see especially p. 10-12 of the pdf of “The Idea and Ideal of Capitalism” and the lecture video on markets, the 2nd element of capitalism.)
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