This Article illuminates an unresolved legal enigma: Why is private law so reluctant to compensate victims for emotional harms while it is fully committed to compensating them for any other type of harm? It proposes a novel analysis of the deeper roots of the problem and a solution. This Article shows that the persistent resistance to compensation in the affective domain comes from a broader legal misunderstanding and mistreatment of emotions. Opponents of compensation are wrong to assume that emotional harms are trivial, easy to fake, or impossible to value. Rather, with the help of scientific and technological progress, it should be clear by now that the devaluation of emotional harms is unjustified, injurious to victims, and toxic to relational norms of behavior. What’s worse, as this Article exposes, is that while the debate has continued without resolution, reality has dramatically changed. Outside of law and under a neoliberal worldview, the value of emotions has been celebrated, making emotions a new type of personal property and an important component of people’s human capital. The Article thus demonstrates that in today’s hypercompetitive world the refusal to compensate for emotional harms is more devastating than ever before. For that reason the Article proposes that it is about time we start valuing emotions – recognizing their importance and compensating those who suffered emotional harms. The Article then discusses how to shape the necessary reform, mainly by utilizing existing remedial tools to cope with concerns related to verification and measurement – a challenge that is in no way unique to emotional harms and should not continue to prevent appropriate compensation.'The Street View of Property' by Vanessa Casado Perez in (2019) 70(2) Hastings Law Journal 367-408 comments
Parking on public streets is scarce. The current allocation system for parking spots based on the rule of capture coupled with low parking fees creates a tragedy of the commons scenario. The misallocation of parking has consequences for commerce, for access to public spaces, and for pollution and congestion. Municipalities have not widely adopted the solution that economists propose to solve this scarcity problem: increase the price. Politics aside, the reluctance of municipalities to do so may be explained by the unique nature of public property as reflected in well-rooted legal and societal constraints. This unique nature helps explain, for example, municipalities’ ban on software applications (apps) allowing occupants of curbside parking to “sell” their spots to would-be occupants in Boston or San Francisco. While the ban may be justified, the unique nature of public property is not incompatible with some well-designed, efficiency-oriented policies, as this Article will put forward.
This Article distills the legal constraints on curbside parking and any other public property management by drawing on case law regarding parking meters and public resources managed in trust for the public, and decisions by municipalities regarding parking apps and privatization of parking meters. These constraints include, among others, that public property shall not be used to raise revenue, although placing a price on it may pursue other regulatory aims consistent with public use, or that municipalities shall not lose control of the public spaces dedicated to curbside parking. At a normative level, the above constraints provide a framework for assessing policies regarding curbside parking and, by extension the management of any other public property resources. At a positive level, the Article proposes ways to make efficiency compatible with the principles guiding the management of public property. It analyzes whether, and to what extent, the efficiency-oriented policies that would translate into a price increase—variable pricing, tradable property rights, and privatization—clash with those principles constraining the monetization of public property. In addition, the Article concludes by pointing to other situations where its analytical framework could be extended, such as other uses of public streets (for instance, use of public bus stops by shuttle-buses of private companies) or existing practices in connection to public resources (for instance, semi-privatization of beaches).