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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 268 of Richard Epstein’s 2005 essay “The Economist In Spite of Himself,” which is Chapter 10 in The Origins of Law and Economics: Essays by the Founding Fathers (Francesco Parisi and Charles K. Rowley, eds., 2005):

Hence, in the end, any claim that certain obligations devolve on states or corporations is just a shorthand way of identifying which people, and to what extent, will have to make good the claims of other individuals.

This methodological individualism has political implications, because it leads to a commendable caution in the campaign to create new classes of rights.  Claims for positive rights, for example, always encounter rough sledding once the correlative duties are placed front and center: if I have a right to a job, education, health care or a house, then I must be able to specify the person or persons who owe me any or all of these things.