David Bernstein proposes an eminently sensible Coasean bargain to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Noting that the Netanyahu government has indicated a willingness to cede 90% of the West Bank to the Palestinians and that the Palestinians are demanding 98.4% plus land swaps, Bernstein suggests:
How about if Israel simply “buys” (without necessarily conceding lack of current ownership) the extra land from the Palestinians? And not by giving the money to the Palestinian government, but by giving every man, woman, and child in the West Bank $5,000, payable over a five-year period. The total cost: approximately $10 billion. Make the offer, and let the Palestinians decide in a referendum whether they’d rather continue the conflict, or would rather have more money than most of them have ever seen (GDP per capita $1,000), plus their own state, plus peace.
I think this proposal is brilliant, perhaps in large part because it so closely resembles an idea of mine about how to end the impasse over affirmative action. Way back in 2003 I wrote that “I would be willing to consider sympathetically something as difficult to justify as reparations for slavery if they could be limited in amount, in duration, and be paired with abandoning all forms of racial preference.”
I still think that’s worth discussing. As I concluded here last fall, after documenting only some of the astronomical amounts we spend on various affirmative action projects, “Outright reparations might be cheaper, in fact much cheaper, than our current ‘diversity’ ransoms.”