San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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In my view, Professor Spector's paper is more persuasive in identifying the rhetorical change that has taken place than in providing a causal account of its genesis. The traditional rights of private property and freedom of contract do seem a long way from the new rights to receive medical care or safe and affordable housing. However, the rural-to-urban hypothesis for the cause of this change is not especially persuasive. Laissez-faire thinking of autonomous private spheres was at its height in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, among conditions far more urban and commercial than had historically been the case and among countries such as England and Holland that were more urban than most at the time. It has also made a remarkable comeback in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in countries where urban crowding can make Manhattan seem bucolic.