The following exchange took place between Walter Block and me.
As you may be aware there is a very expensive, state-of-the-art San Francisco luxury high rise that is sinking, Millennium Tower.
Apparently, at this time, it is unclear what is causing the building to sink. However, one theory holds that it is the construction of the adjacent TransBay Terminal. The theory goes something like this: dirt has been removed by Transbay on their property and this has caused nearby dirt on the property of the high-rise to slide.
TransBay Terminal is a government construction but let us assume it was a private sector construction and that the removal of the dirt was indeed the cause of the sinking at the nearby building. How would you rule as to responsibility in this case if you were sitting on a private libertarian court? Would you rule that Transbay must pay damages or would you basically say "tough luck" to the condo owners in Millenium Tower?
I would rule that Transbay must pay FULL damages. No. Scratch that. Full damages plus be considered a criminal trespasser.
I wrote about this sort of thing here:
Block, Walter E. and Matthew A. Block. 1996. “Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property Rights," Journal Des Economistes Et Des Etudes Humaines, Vol. VII, No. 2/3, June-September, pp. 351-362; http://220.127.116.11/faculty/
Block/Blockarticles/roads1_ vol7.htm; http://www.business.loyno.edu/ bios/Blockarticles/roads1_ vol7.htm; http://www.walterblock.com/wp- content/uploads/publications/ block-block_roads-bridges- sunlight-property-1996.pdf; https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/228217518_Roads_ Bridges_Sunlight_and_Private_ Property_Rights?ev=prf_pub
Tullock, Gordon. 1996. "Comment on 'Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property', by Walter E. Block and Matthew A. Block," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Vol. 7, No. 4, December, pp. 589-592.
Block, Walter E. 1998. “Roads, Bridges, Sunlight and Private Property: Reply to Gordon Tullock,” Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Vol. 8, No. 2/3, June-September, pp. 315-326; http://18.104.22.168/faculty/
Block/Blockarticles/roads2_ vol8.htm; http://www.walterblock.com/wp- content/uploads/publications/ block_roads-bridges-sunlight- reply-tullock-1998.pdf
There, my coauthor and I wrote about digging a tunnel under someone else’s property (slant drilling); that to be legal, it MUST NOT cave in any of the other guy’s buildings, barns, trees, etc. This is not exactly on point, but, I think it is close enough.
This material is included in this book of mine:
Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute.