Richard Epstein

American legal scholar

Richard Allen Epstein (born April 17, 1943) is an American legal scholar, law professor, and author.



Quotes about Epstein

  • Epstein says that there are six or seven simple rules, depending on when he is counting. The basic six are "self-ownership, or autonomy; first possession; voluntary exchange; protection against aggression; limited privilege for cases of necessity; and takings of property for public use on payment of just compensation" (p 53). The seventh rule is that if there is to be redistribution to the poor it must be financed by flat taxes (p 148).
  • Richard Epstein's book, Takings: Private Property and the Power of the Eminent Domain, is the bible of the "ownership society" of the cowboy capitalists of the 21st century. It is also the bible of judges like Clarence Thomas and Antonio Scalia who have used Epstein's philosophy of takings to undo the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and alter laws based on the public trust doctrine. The problem with Locke and Epstein is that they are blind to the takings by colonizers, cowboys, and corporations, they elevate property created through theft of the commons into a sacred category, defining all attempts to protect the common good as a taking for which the original "takee" must be compensated.
    • Vandana Shiva Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (2005)
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