The Utilitarian Theory Of Property Essay

The Utilitarian Theory Of Property Essay

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The Utilitarian theory of property looks to maximize utility for all people when property decisions are made. The common statement for the Utilitarian property theory is that in making a property the decision should do the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. The problem with this theory comes in the definition of utility and aggregating this utility in a cost-benefit analysis. A popular unit of measure of utility, using the welfarist economics utilitarian view is using an economic measure, usually the price a person is willing to pay in the marketplace to analyze decisions through a cost-benefit mechanism. However, a strict welfarist utilitarian decision will not work in this instance as because welfarisim looks more towards individualism with the impact on individual persons and the decisions regarding public property and disability access will necessarily involve other costs, such as those to the government and the value of cultural property, therefore in this analysis other factors must be taken into account. Applying a cost-benefit utilitarian analysis for the property decision in the Beacon Hill case shows the problem of looking at decisions regarding cultural property and disability accessibility through a Utilitarian lens.
1. Defining a Value for Utility
The an issue to confront when analyzing a property decision through a Utilitarian cost-benefit analysis is determining the measure to use for utility and the value that people would assign to the decision. The difficulty here and with public property in general, in finding a comparable measure of utility is the widely ranging composition of people whose utility will be aggregated and the vast scope of welfare and benefit these people derive from use and ac...


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...ices and interests may be lost in the crowd, no matter how unfair this may be. While there are laws that protect individuals with disabilities, the ADA itself has exceptions for historic property, which shows that the government at times allows historic cultural property to reign over disability accessibility. Furthermore, because it would be impossible to ask each and every person this is more of a guess that may or may not be correct as to people’s preferences which is difficult and not always fair. Therefore, although in the situation of Beacon Hill, after many questions and filling in gaps, a utilitarian analysis of the property decision would yield a victory to disability accessibility over the preservation of cultural property, it is clear that this may not always be the case and demonstrates why it may not be the best idea to analyze a decision in such a way.

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