Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Schorr's "Colorado Doctrine"

Just out from Yale University Press is the The Colorado Doctrine: Water Rights, Corporations, and Distributive Justice on the American Frontier, by David Schorr, senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University, where he chairs the Law and Environment Program at the Faculty of Law.  The press explains:
Making extensive use of archival and other primary sources, David Schorr demonstrates that the development of the “appropriation doctrine,” a system of private rights in water, was part of a radical attack on monopoly and corporate power in the arid West. Schorr describes how Colorado miners, irrigators, lawmakers, and judges forged a system of private property in water based on a desire to spread property and its benefits as widely as possible among independent citizens.  He demonstrates that ownership was not dictated by concerns for economic efficiency, but by a regard for social justice.
Gregory S. Alexander, Cornell Law School, blurbs: “This is an extremely important contribution not only to American legal history but to economic history and to legal theory generally.  Schorr’s idea that the prior appropriation doctrine created as anti-commons for purposes of distributive justice is completely original and highly important.”