Washington International Law Journal


In-situ and intra-national preservation of cultural property is threatened by a highly remunerative international black market. Despite the existing nexus of both domestic and international laws drafted to halt illicit trafficking in cultural property, black markets, such as ones in Southeast Asian art and artifacts, are thriving. This Comment examines whether the existing web of laws and regulations serve, in fact, to foster, rather than discourage, the continuance and growth of the art black market. Likening the destruction of rare cultural resources to the destruction of scarce natural resources, this Comment uses Garrett Hardin's game theory tragedy of the commons scenario to illustrate the relational between art laws and the black market in cultural property. Finally, this Comment hypothesizes that the only workable solution may lie in declaring certain cultural property rights inalienable.

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