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Monday, January 28, 2002

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Property rights

The sky was a beautiful orange pink this morning. The nice thing about clouds is we get some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. I didn't get to enjoy it at length as I walked along as I had gotten up late due to hitting the snooze button a few too many times. Still I'm rarely late as I take nearly an hour to walk to work so even getting up 30 minutes later, I still have time to take the bus.

Bad stories just come back to haunt us. The lady who drowned her five kids will be on trial now and I'm sure it will drag on. I can't condone what she did but I also wonder if it should be her husband who is on trial. She has five very young children, she's had treatment for depression, but her husband never worried about her stressing out from taking care of all those kids? Being home with all those kids by herself? Just the thought of having five children that young stresses me out. I barely made it through with two and mine were really good kids. Highsprited, hyper, no interest in taking naps, but good kids!

I finished reading "The Edges of the Field" by Joseph William Singer. The subtitle is "Lessons on the Obligations of Ownership". Singer goes into how we think of property and why he feels that property rights and obligations should be changed. He does say that without property rights you don't have real freedom which I certainly agree with. He then goes on to say that the problem is that the ability to obtain property and share in the privileges of freedom needs to be opened up. He brings up the truth that the people that invest money are not the only ones who have a stake in a company but also the employees who invest their labor.

This was certainly an appropriate book to read with the Enron scandal echoing from every news outlet. I always get upset when people who run a company can hide behind it. The author says that our laws require the officers to do what is most profitable for the stockholders even if it hurts the other stockholders like employees and the community. I think that too often we think only about the rights of ownership but not the obligations and responsibilities. It's a good book. I may even read it again to understand it better.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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