Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Let the bartering begin
The distinction of rights and to who the overriding or more pertinent right falls was very intriguing to me in Coase’s article titled “The Problem of Social Cost”. As Coase begins, he talks about how a sort of agreement can be made between parties in order to obtain an equitable or favorable agreement for both parties, and as his first example applied to marketing and financial gains I was not sure how this equal responsibility to acquire this happy profitable medium would work in legal situations. I thought the case, Bryant v. Lefever held a very interesting decision. The judge reasoned that because the fire was started by the plaintiff and there for the actual cause of the smoke was due to the plaintiff’s actions that he be held responsible for the problem, even when the Defendant had built a structure that trapped the smoke prior to the existence of the fireplace. The decision placed great emphasis on the right to have that free flowing air or whether the defendant was within his right to erect new structures on his land. The problem of the smoke is actually a problem only due to the actions of both parties and because of this it is necessary to review the legal rights of the parties. The distinction made between an economist view on the fair resolution and that made by a judge is an interesting observation because the reasoning behind both come at the issue from quite different angles.