Law Persons and Property

Question 1. A) Multiple courts have created a compilation of circumstantially-defined categories for solving issues of human body use and ownership. Such approach is quite uncomfortable, incoherent, and quite unjust. A lot of competent minds have been asked to analyze the distributive outcomes of a system in which it is not possible – no matter at which stage of life a human is – “own” their own bodies, however other humans have such a right. Unfortunately, what these conversations really lack is a conceptual background that allows to understand the living human body as a property (Casebook, Chapter 7, page 243).

A dead human body is simply regarded as a certain mass of material, though it signifies a strong connection to what just recently was a living being. A corpse is not considered to a human being anymore. Legal rights which are used to correct the human’s behavior within the allowed frames of the society are applicable only to living humans. Not only corpses are problematic in being elaborated some legal status – the same can be referred to a fertilized ovum of a human, an embryo of a human as well as a fetus or already separated part of a human who is still alive. In Japan, for example, abandonment, destruction or even taking of the illegal possession of a corpse[1] is strictly forbidden by the #190 Japanese Criminal Law. This law shows a great deal of respect to Japanese religious beliefs, and does not really protect personal rights of a dead person.

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B) Property is any intangible or physical entity which is owned by one person, by a group of persons or a legal entity (for example, corporation). Regarding the nature of the property, its owner has the right to consume, rent, sell, mortgage, exchange, transfer or destroy it as well as to keep out others from performing these actions. The most significant and widely-recognized types of property are as follows: Real property which presents the ownership of land and allows any improvements to it; personal property is physical ownership that belongs to a person; private property is property possessed by business entities or legal persons; public property is either owned by state or public, available possessions. Though it is not as widely enforced or recognized as other types of the property, intellectual property presents exclusive rights over invention, pieces of art, etc. Private property is not the same as the collective or public property as the assets should only be owned by the individuals or business units. Private property became an important cornerstone in replacing feudal property, cottage industry, guilds, and craft production which based on the tool ownership which was used for the common production by guilds of craftspeople or individual workers.

Private property is the application of those means of production which are not similar to the economic enterprise, and are based on the wage labor and socialized production. In the history (particularly till the 18th century), private property was identified with the land ownership. Private property should not be understood as a possession (Casebook, Chapter 8, page 275). Question 2. Surrogacy is an arrangement when a woman gives a formal agreement to become pregnant aiming at gestating and delivering a baby which will be raised by the other family. The woman can be the baby’s genetic mother, however, frequently she is not – depending on the chosen arrangement of both parties.

Nowadays, there are six different types of arrangements for surrogacy: Gestational surrogacy, traditional surrogacy, traditional surrogacy and donor sperm, gestational surrogacy and egg donation method, gestational surrogacy and donor sperm, and gestational surrogacy and donor embryo. Surrogacy is legal in Canada, except for the province of Quebec, to the contrary of the United States where only some states recognize it, while others strictly ban it (Casebook, Chapter 9, page 305). Just as fostered or adopted children, born through surrogacy are desired and loved. There are many advantages for having such children, that is why the United States as well as the bigger half of the world should make a step forward and allow the conduction of such practice. There is a good number of ethicists that consider surrogate mothers to be very uncaring and cold as they do not feel attached to the baby they re carrying under their hearts but this is a wrongful misconception. Surrogate mothers do attach and bond to the child they are carrying but in a different way.

Nowadays, a lot of surrogate mothers have a lasting relationship with the children they have helped to create. Everyone is allowed to have own their opinion, but frequently, those who stand out against surrogacy are misinformed or uneducated about the whole process. It is the nature of the overwhelming majority of people to protest against things they are not familiar with or in case they feel that they have nothing to do with it. The world is changing fast, people are changing their values, often putting large families and time spent with them to the background. Conservative individuals consider it immoral and totally inacceptable, however, the preferences of each should be taken into consideration and respected. Those, who already have children and are against surrogacy, do not have a single right to protest when they have not experienced what infertility is.

The government made a survey among the Canadians in 1993 and discovered that the country was largely divided, but the majority considered surrogacy and cloning to be very unethical. 1993 is gone long ago, and situation is improving in favor of surrogacy supporters, however, the opponents are still many. In the United States, the situation is about the same: Somme states recognize it and ban it[2]. In the present-day society, surrogacy is understood by many citizens as a business which is bought and sold in the market: Agencies find women who are ready to carry and deliver a baby for the money, contracts are signed, donors sell their sperm, and for the majority of people it really looks like any other profession, just quite innovative and controversial. Surrogacy is becoming a service which is provided for those in need of it. To talk about surrogacy as about real profession is useless, as surrogates do not do it all the time, however, more due to some personal purposes which are rarely known to anyone else: Of course, it can be money, the possibility to get rid of the unborn baby without applying more radical means, or truly wishing to help those who cannot or do not want to have a child in a traditional, natural way.

If someone wishes to call it a service on the market, they are free to do so, however, no disrespect, derogation, or insult should be attached to it.Surrogacy presupposes in a way that a child who is to be born becomes a kind of a property which is sold to another owner. The opponents of this process stress exactly on it because they consider the embryo who they regard as a real human being to be treated as an item to be sold on the market. The embryo as if loses its humanity in their eyes. However, the surrogacy process will be discriminated, misinterpreted, and shrouded with stereotypes still for a long time, and different prejudiced opinion will be expressed in order for the practice to be banned completely. These opponents do not realize one important thing: Their born in a traditional way children are the same objects of personal property as the children born from the surrogate mother with only one difference: They would never recognize it.

In my opinion, the laws of the United States which are especially considered to be among the most democratic and liberal laws across the whole world, should take into consideration the personal needs of different groups of people, even if this people are in minority. Surrogacy starts to be the same issue as the free practice of specific religions, homosexual marriages, and constant discrimination against national minorities or African Americans who still suffer from a certain degree of a biased treatment. Question 3. A) The water is a substantial and essential part of human life, which, in fact, is the source of person’s ability to exist. Water is the second vital resource after the air which amount is near to inexhaustible, however, many people from different countries still suffer from its lack as well as from the lack of fresh, clean air.

On the one hand, the environmentally-friendly organizations together with the governments do a lot to solve the problem with the lack of drinkable water, however, on the other hand, their efforts are either not good enough or ineffective completely regarding the situation with environmental problems around the world. There are many aspects which definitely prove that it would be much better to make some of the natural resources which are now under the government’s rule private, therefore, cchanging the law of the property. However, it seems quite unusual to percept how air can be bought and sold or at least “owned” by someone. Even the government does not own it – it only possesses the right, actually the duty, to maintain it in a good condition so it will not have a negative impact on people, controlling the harmful emissions by factories and plants as well as the fuel that the cars use. However, we can clearly see that the governments of various countries together with our national fail to do so appropriately. For example, a bigger half of Europe’s forests, excluding CIS[3] countries and Russia, are privately owned.

Such a strategy of the government plays a key role in maintaining favorable for ecosystems which therefore greatly improve the environmental condition, particularly air quality, facilitating rural development as well as producing healthy products. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of drawbacks, which include an essential lack of knowledge that leads to various complications in the privately-owned forests across the whole Europe. During 2006-2007, a joint enquiry was performed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (now Forest Europe), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Confederation of European Forest Owners attempting to change this outrageous incompetence. A questionnaire was sent to thirty-eight member countries of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe with a detailed account on private forestry. Only twenty-three countries actively participated by sending their national accounts, mostly for 2005: Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Finland, Slovakia Germany, Ireland, Norway, Hungary, Latvia, Austria, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium, France, Romania, the Netherlands, Iceland, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

This research outlines the major findings from the national reports and summarizes the conditions of European private forestry regarding holding structure, ownership distribution, socio-economic trends and findings, and taking into consideration restitution/privatization, alteration in patters of ownership and promoting the association of private forest owners. The importance of forest privatization and granting the forest a certain status of personhood is essential for promoting its good state as well as the proper treatment by people who, in such a case, are pointed out at the importance of the area more, and therefore the cleaner and healthier environment is fostered (Casebook, Chapter 9, page 304).The increasing success with forests preservation in such a way has lead many protectors of the environment to promote for the same rights for the water resources, especially rivers and lakes which are the main sources of fresh, drinkable water for millions if not milliards of people. In my opinion, this situation is quite different from the one with forests, as water is in less quantity (if it is possible to talk about quantity of this resource at all) and I cannot imagine that some private owner decides to limit his river of the public use of water – sounds ridiculous, however, the precautions should not be omitted. Private ownership of water sounds challenging, but there are laws which grant certain water resources with the personhood. For example, in New Zealand the river Whanganui is now considered legally a real person.

Such an unusual decision resulted from the long court proceedings which were initiated by the local community[4] which has a very strong cultural bond with this waterway since their creation. The river was recognized to be a protected entity, which is sustained according to its needs by the legal custodians from both the local community as well as by the governmental representatives. Whanganui River is the first example in the history which legally certified such a high status of a living creature being given to the natural resource. Being the first does not mean being the last, and according to the tendencies observed around the world, such laws are only on its rise (for example, in Ecuador when in 2008 the law was adopted which granted rivers, forests, and lakes with the right of equality with humans in order to protect them from the excessive pollution and prevent deforestation). However odd and immoral in some way it may seem, such laws are people’s chance to create a cleaner world that will improve our lives in turn.