Comment: A few points

(See in situ)

In reply to comment: This is a good, well reasoned (see in situ)

A few points

fraud is literally whatever it is defined to be by a legal authority.

Yes, but that positivistic view of law only tells us what the law is, not what it ought to be, which is the question at hand.

In some cases, it is better to define fraud as a "strict liability rule"(i.e. anyone who does not label their product is guilty of fraud) rather than to require all of the elements of fraud to be proven.

Better for what purpose? I don't see how it serves the interest of justice to define something as fraud which is not fraud (labeling of products in a certain way) only because it might be correlated with actual fraud. And, practically speaking, fraud shouldn't really be that hard to prove anyway. All Jones has to prove is that he reasonably believed that the product was one thing based on the comments/advertizing/labeling/whatever of the seller, and it was in fact another. Moreover, fraud isn't even the crux of the issue. Fraud (from a libertarian perspective) is a pretty trivial matter. Someone guilty of fraud is liable for nothing but the return of the money paid for the misrepresented product. Prosecution for fraud isn't going to make Monsanto shake in its boots. The way to go after Monsanto, or anyone else selling harmful products, is to sue them for damages, which brings us to...

This is the case here where the harm that results from the wrongful act is TOO ATTENUATED to be proven in court. So if I buy/eat GMO I cannot sue until I have suffered damages, in which case that could be stomach cancer 20-30 years from now and there will be no way to prove causation(that the GMO cause the cancer). Strict liability rules come into place where the burden of proof and severity of the harm are very high and the probability of detection is low.

It seems to me that if the causal connection cannot be proven, then there is no liability. If something cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or by a preponderance of the evidence, in a court of law, then on what grounds can we say we know that it is in fact the case? Is it reasonable to assume liability precisely because it can't be proven?

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."