Kite Flying and Property Rights

Kite flying

Kites flying in Lahore

Kite flying and property rights may not seem to be related but in a world of causal-realist thinking they are. So what do I mean by this? An example is the initiation of a recent crackdown against those who sell kites and those who fly them.

Police launched the crackdown on kite flyers in the wake of the death of 23-year-old youth Zubair who died after falling from the rooftop of his house while flying kites at Gojra on Saturday.

What the above means is that because the person fell off the rooftop flying kites, all those somehow related to the kite industry, including sellers and buyers are going to be penalized. Lets think through this for a moment and try to find out why the above statement is just so weird. Who would have been penalized had the person fallen off the rooftop eating a McDonald burger? Isn’t it strange that in this the case of the burger it seems ridiculous to blame the maker of the burger? Why is it so? I’ll give you the answer soon enough.

Kite flying as an activity isn’t the issue. People have a right to do what they please as long as it doesn’t harm another. The issue is related to private property. Kites and Happiness

Flying of the kites cause damage to property, including persons. This is a violation, not the flying of kite itself but rather the damage caused by the activity. If those who are engaging in this activity cause damage (including to themselves) they should be held responsible for that damage. Punishing the seller is placing the blame on the wrong party.

There may be some who only wish to stock up on kites but never fly them. The seller doesn’t know the intent of the user. The idea isn’t a blanket ban or punishment but a determining of the party that is responsible for the damage. It’s by using the causal-realist thinking that we can determine the link between kite flying and property rights. It’s this interesting connection that guides us into thinking clearly what caused what in the bigger scheme of things, instead of randomly blaming everything and everyone.

Does this imply that flying a kite is desirable? I wouldn’t say so. It causes a lot of problems, yet the punishment has been a blanket ban. To be fair those who are worried about the massive damage to life and property due to this activity haven’t found a better way to pinpoint the offenders. If it were possible to identify who’s kite did what damage we could allocate the damages and blame equitably. Without that knowledge the concerned parties are left with trying to ban the activity altogether.

The decision to make kite flying illegal or to restrict is a political matter. The people can decide what they need or have a referendum of some sorts. The purpose of the analysis isn’t to be the judge or jury but to lay bare the parties involved, leaving the ultimate decision with the people who are directly affected.



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