O.J.’s Defense: A Reductio Ad Absurdum of Coase and Posner

  • Walter E. BlockEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


Even though the O.J. Simpson case has been settled, it is still much in the news. Pundits, commentators, journalists, and editorialists are still weighing in with a myriad of discussion and analysis. Should the economics profession alone remain silent on this highly charged issue when seemingly all others have entered the fray? Not a bit of it.

Even after the trial, the opinions expressed fall into two main categories. One, O.J. did indeed stab his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her companion, Ronald Goldman, and should be punished for this act, and two, he is innocent and should therefore be freed. Fortunately, with the tools of modern economic analysis at our command, we are able to transcend these rather plebian alternatives. As it happens, thanks to Coasean Posnerian insights, we can have our cake and eat it too: we can defend the position that even if O.J. were guilty of the acts with which he is charged, he should still be set free. (O.J. defense team: please take note! You may wish to add the present deliberations to your repertoire when and if O.J., or anyone else like him, is next charged with murder.)


O.J.’s defense The Coasean system Coase’s doctrine of reciprocality Zero transactions costs 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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