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01. Gregory S. Alexander, Law

Gregory Alexander

Gregory Alexander

The Global Debate over Constitutional Property: Lessons for American Takings Jurisprudence (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Alexander enters the international debates on constitutional property. Should property be a constitutional right or a legal right over which democratic majorities have greater control? In some societies property holdings are insecure, despite constitutional provisions that are supposed to guarantee significant security for property rights. In other countries—Canada, for example—property rights have considerable legal protection, although the right of property was deliberately omitted from Canada’s 1982 Charter of Rights. International institutions like the World Bank are pushing to make property a matter of constitutional protection so that property holdings are more secure, particularly in new democracies. Alexander argues that culture matters as much as text: how much legal security property holdings have is determined by the society‚Äôs culture and legal and political traditions as much as by what a society’s written constitution says or does not say. He says that the World Bank has completely ignored the role of culture in pursuing their program of legal standardization in emerging democracies. The book is aimed at a legal audience, as well as scholars and policy makers from fields interested in the interactions between legal systems and economic development.

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