Stuart Banner


On his book American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own

Cover Interview of June 05, 2011

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“What property is depends on what one wants property to do.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“Lawyers of the eighteenth century could not have known of the array of intangible property rights the future would bring.  But they were not in the grip of any physical conception of property, because they were familiar with a different set of intangible property rights.”

On the second:

“Back in the 1850s, P.T. Barnum had been pleased to discover unauthorized Jenny Lind merchandise.  In the 1950s Saperstein sometimes discovered unauthorized Elvis gear, and when he did, ‘we sue like mad,’ he explained.”