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December 17, 2015


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Jason Mazzone

That's the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place in New Orleans.

Eric Rasmusen

It isn't such a hard question when a building was named after a non-donor, though still interesting. The real fun comes when thinking about how to repudiate old donors, as with the Harvard Royall question. I can't see how someone would keep the money while abusing the donor, which seems doubly immoral, as well as undoubtedly hypocritical. The ethics, law, and economics of its are all interesting. See my for a back-of-envelope first start.

Enrique Guerra Pujol

Great post re: the Royall affair, but how were you able to sneak that link in?

Al Brophy

Eric, thanks for the post on Royall. As I recall, the requirement that a donee pay all the money back with interest came up in the United Daughters of the Confederacy v. Vanderbilt back in 2005. I thought the pay everything back with interest was excessive because Vanderbilt (and Peabody College before it) complied with part of the gift. But that's a story for another time.

These calculations of interest seem excessive -- and I feel that way about people who calculate the wages that should have been paid to enslaved workers and then say that entire amount is owed as reparations.

Why not give back the current value of the money? Whatever $8000 of property from 1820 is worth in 2015 (still a substantial amount, but surely well less than $1.2 billion).

Al Brophy

And, yes, Jason got this exactly right, as always.

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