A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China
[PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
"Article 6 (of Chapter I), in particular, protects rights of private property relating to acquisition, use, disposal, inheritance, and compensation for lawful takeover at market prices in convertible forms of payment. Private property rights are the keystone of Hong Kong's market economy and their preservation is essential in maintaining Hong Kong's capitalistic system."
Aristotle Understood the Importance of Property
, by Richard Ebeling
, 27 Sep 2016
Discusses Aristotle's views on private property and property rights (contrasting them with those of Plato), the "ends" of human life, economics ("household management"), wealth acquisition, prices, money and related topics
"This idea comes out most clearly in Aristotle's discussion of private property, and in his rejection of Plato's call for a communist social order in which material things are held in common. Aristotle argued that if all land was owned communally with work performed jointly, there existed the potential for animosity and anger among the participants. Why? Because then individuals would feel that they had not received what was rightly theirs since work and reward would not be strictly and tightly connected, as they are under a system of private property."
Bastiat, Frédéric (1801-1850)
, by Jörg Guido Hülsmann, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"Bastiat starts from the observation that a private-property order is safeguarded by the law, which he understands to mean those rules that determine how physical force may legitimately be used to protect property rights. In his essay 'The Law,' Bastiat argues that the whole point of this artificial institution, the law, is to protect the private property of each member of society: 'It is not because men have enacted laws that personality, liberty and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty and property already exist that men make laws.'"
Bastiat on the Socialization of Wealth
, by Sheldon Richman
, Future of Freedom
, Dec 2014
Explains what Bastiat meant when saying that real wealth is constantly passing from the realm of (private) property to that of the community
"In a competitive marketplace with advancing technology, as the effort required to produce and, hence, acquire things diminishes, the price of gaining utility falls. ... Thus, progress through the market order consists in ever more people satisfying more of their wants with less and less effort. Bastiat calls this a move from private property to common wealth because he roots property in effort, and greater wealth is available to all with less effort. What makes that possible? Technological innovation."
Dictatorship of Gadflies
, by James Bovard
, Future of Freedom
, Nov 1998
Discusses the National Trust for Historic Preservation and similar groups
"Government preservation police have seized control over the exteriors — and often the interiors — of hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. ... the premier preservationist organization, has gone from seeking to educate Americans about historic treasures to clamoring for maximum restrictions on private land use across the nation. ... Taxpayers might be surprised to know that the trust — which receives $7 million a year from the federal government — has bankrolled the political opposition to property-rights initiatives."
How We Privatized Social Security in Chile
, by José Piñera, The Freeman
, Jul 1997
Explains how the Chilean private pension system works and how the previous government-controlled system was transformed into the current one (the author was the Secretary of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet and designed the new system)
"Instead of paying a payroll tax, every Chilean worker sends his monthly contribution—between 10 percent and 20 percent of wages—to a tax-deferred pension savings account. This is the individual's private property. An individual can easily find out how much is in his or her pension savings account. Now the biggest asset of Chilean workers isn't their used car or their mortgaged home. Their biggest asset is the capital accumulated in their pension savings account."
Imperium in Imperio
, by Frank Chodorov
, Jun 1950
Examines the theory of government espoused by James Madison in The Federalist
number 10, and how property rights have regressed since then
"The progress of civilization, the advancement in the sciences and arts, is in proportion to the degree of private property permitted in the going modus vivendi ... The principle of private property, then, stems from the composition of the human being. And the general welfare, or the aggregate of production, is promoted only by the certainty of possession and enjoyment. That is the underlying thought of the laissez faire philosophy which, at the time the Constitution was framed, was accepted as axiomatic."
John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property
, by Jim Powell
, The Freeman
, Aug 1996
Extensive biographical essay, including summaries of his major works
"Locke established that private property is absolutely essential for liberty: 'every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his.' He continues: 'The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.' Locke believed people legitimately turned common property into private property by mixing their labor with it, improving it."
, by F. A. Harper
, 4 Sep 1957
Speech to the Mont Pelerin Society; Harper first offers his definition of liberty, then explores "adulterated" definitions, its relation to morals, moral law and basic humans rights, ending with his hope for the cause of liberty
"Tolerance in disagreement demands acceptance of separate domains within which a person is allowed to make his mistakes, if he does so with what is his rather than with what is yours. Private property within the economic arena of scarce and desired things operates to this end. Once these domains are accepted, then it becomes a prime moral right of a person 'to do what I will with mine own' instead of to do what I will with your own."
Ludwig von Mises: An Economist for Freedom and Free Enterprise
, by Richard Ebeling
, 29 Sep 2016
Discusses three major themes in the works of Mises, namely, business cycle theory, his critique of socialism and the unfettered market economy; includes list of suggested additional readings
"In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, socialists condemned the capitalist system and called for the abolition of private property in the means of production ... Mises argued that rationality and direction is given to all economic activity in the market economy through the institutions of private property, competition, and the price system. Private property and market competition ... only generate the self-interested motives for people to use their labor, resources, and capital in ways that benefit others as well as themselves ..."
Ludwig von Mises and the Justification of the Liberal Order
, by William Baumgarth, The Economics of Ludwig von Mises
, Nov 1974
Critically examines various Mises' writings on liberalism, democracy, the wisdom of the masses, special-interest politics, equal treatment under the law, anarchism, self-determination and of course economics
"The political program of liberalism is, therefore, the structuring or maintaining of a social order based on private ownership of the means of production. This entails, at the very least, the curbing of the power of the government, because private property is incompatible with governmental arbitrariness. The utility of private property lies precisely in the fact of decentralization and therefore the more efficient use of knowledge than is possible when resources are directed by centralized state planning."
Monopolies versus the Free Market, Part 1
, by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom
, Sep 2006
Contrasts state-backed monopolies or quasi-monopolies vs. regular businesses in a free market, with historical and current examples, and discusses antitrust laws
"Ruthless rate-cutting railroads should be taken over by the government. That last point was the suggestion made by myriad leaders in the Progressive Era, such as William Jennings Bryan and Herbert Croly. ... Another celebrated novelist of this period [19th-century] was Edward Bellamy, whose book Looking Backward in the 1880s predicted a perfect society that had abolished private property. This anti-capitalist, sometimes utopian, literature became contagious. It is perhaps why many of these monopoly statutes are unclear and not based on a logical or coherent economic theory."
Morals and the Welfare State
, by F. A. Harper
Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman
, Sep 1971)
"... the only parts of the moral code which are directly and specifically relevant are these: (1) Thou shalt not steal. (2) Thou shalt not covet. Steal what? Covet what? Private property, of course. What else could I steal from you, or covet of what is yours? I cannot steal from you or covet what you do not own as private property. As Dr. D. Elton Trueblood has aptly said: 'Stealing is evil because ownership is good.' Thus we find that the individual's right to private property is an unstated assumption which underlies the Decalogue. Otherwise these two admonitions would be empty of either purpose or meaning."
More Victims of Immigration Control
, by Sheldon Richman
, 18 Jan 2008
Discusses how employers and property owners along the U.S.-Mexico border are also victims of U.S. immigration controls
"Additional victims [of U.S. immigration policy] are to be found among American citizens. ... Another group is found on the U.S.-Mexico border. They are property owners who refuse to let federal agents onto their property to determine whether the proposed border fence should be built there. ... Well, isn't that nice in the land of the free? The government wants to trespass on private property in order to determine whether it will seize it to build a Berlin-style wall to lock out people who are looking for work from willing employers. And the secretary wants no back talk from the mere landowners."
Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom
, by David Gordon, The Freeman
, Nov 2007
Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
"Once one accepts self-ownership the justification for private property soon follows. Each person owns his own labor. Does he not have a right, then, to what he produces by means of that labor? To deny this is to revert once more to slavery; it is to say that other people have the right to control your labor."
, by Sheldon Richman
, 18 May 2007
Reviews Frank Van Dun's 1986 paper titled "Economics and the Limits of Value-Free Science" and its implications for making an objective case for ethics, freedom and private property
"One implication of this is to demolish an argument sometimes made by opponents of private property. It is said that a holder of land aggresses against others by excluding them from use of that land; thus, nonaggression implies collective ownership. But this is wrong. The first to mix his labor with an unowned parcel has 1) transformed a mere thing into a means to a human end and 2) aggressed against no one in the process. If someone else comes along and interferes, he is the aggressor by failing to respect the homesteader. ... if the first person to transform the parcel has no rights to it, how can the second person?"
Private Property and the Rule of Law: Paul Craig Roberts III and The Spirit Of Friedrich Hayek
[PDF], by Michael D. White, 1992
Commentary introducing the 1992 Frank M. Engle Lecture, "'Takings,' the economy, and legal and property rights", delivered by Paul Craig Roberts at The American College, Bryn Mawr, PA, on 11 May 1992
"Hayek understood the importance of private property and recognized that the right to private property—as sacred as it may be—and the chance for economic security—as desirable as it is—are dependent on 'the certainty of the law,' whose 'significance ... for the smooth and efficient working of economic life [cannot] be exaggerated.' Seeking to protect private property and the enforceability of private agreements or contracts, Hayek was quick to identify what some have called'the imperialism of regulation.'"
Privatize the Airwaves!
, by Sheldon Richman
, 26 Apr 2004
Cites several incidents of FCC attempts to enforce "broadcast decency standards" and questions the rationale for nationalized airwaves
"Another gap in the debate is the failure to question the status of the airwaves, or broadcast spectrum, as government property. ... just because we call them 'the public's airwaves,' it doesn't mean that's what they are. Anything said to be owned by the public is actually controlled by the government — politicians and bureaucrats. If you think you are a real part-owner of the airwaves, try selling your 'share.'"
Roots Of Economic Understanding
, by F. A. Harper
, The Freeman
, Nov 1955
Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
"The sense of restraint which the chronic thief lacks is founded in the right to own things—the right of ownership, of private property. There is far more to the sense of ownership than the mere disposition to possess things. This economic sense of rights to private property, which leads to restraint from theft, is clearly a moral concept ... You would not steal except as you covet what belongs to another—unless you refuse to recognize it as his private property."
Smith, Adam (1723-1790)
, by Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay focusing on Adam Smith's two major works
"Smith's analysis of the laws governing economic interaction develops within the context of a broader discussion dealing with the evolution of social institutions that encourage the production of wealth, the foremost of which is private property. ... With each change in the mode of production there follow changes in ... the laws that relate to property that structure our notions of private possessions ... Thus, history is a progression ... from the most rudimentary notions of property to those that prevail in modern society, which alone allow for the production of sufficient amounts of wealth to permit general prosperity."
The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists
, by Murray Rothbard
, The Libertarian Forum
, 1 Jan 1970
Critique of anarcho-communism, examining its presumed non-coercive nature, and its philosophical and economics orientation
"Anarcho-communists have always been extremely vague ... about ... their proposed anarchist society of the future. Many of them have been propounding the profoundly anti-libertarian doctrine that the anarcho-communist revolution will have to confiscate and abolish all private property, so as to wean everyone from their psychological attachment to the property they own."
The Dubai Ports Issue Is Really Wal-Mart and Toyota All Over Again
, by William Marina, 23 Feb 2006
"So, the real issue is privatization. Mr. Nichols would prefer government ownership. In all of this talk of accountability, nowhere is there any mention of the historical reality that American ports were long bastions of the unholy alliance of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and union officials."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 3
, by Jacob Hornberger
, Future of Freedom
, Oct 2006
Describes Franklin Roosevelt's executive order confiscating gold and nullifying gold clauses in contracts, its constitutional ramifications and subsequent related history
"Reflect for a moment on the significance of what Roosevelt did. Gold coins and gold bullion were private property, just like a person's automobile, clothing, home, and food. On the mere command of the president of the United States, federal authorities simply confiscated gold holdings that were the private property of the American people and made it a grave federal offense to own such property in the future."
The Futility of State-Directed "Market Reform": Privatization
, by Kevin Carson
, 5 Aug 2013
Examines how so-called privatization typically works, with examples from various industries and how it ought to work
"You start with an infrastructure built at taxpayer expense. The state 'privatizes' it by selling it off to a nominally private corporation, on terms basically set by the corporation behind the scenes. Those terms usually include an expenditure of taxpayer money (often in excess of proceeds from the sale) to upgrade the infrastructure and make it saleable; some sort of guarantee of profits to, or restriction on competition against, the privatized entity; and a large-scale asset-stripping and hollowing out after the sale takes place."
The Idea of a Private Law Society
, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily
, 28 Jul 2006
Discusses the problem of social order, i.e., rules to regulate the use of "everything
scarce so that all
possible conflicts can be ruled out"
"Only private property makes it possible for all otherwise unavoidable conflicts to be avoided; and only the principle of property acquisition by acts of original appropriation performed by specific individuals at a specific time and location makes it possible for conflicts to be avoided from the beginning of mankind on."
The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand
, by Sharon Harris
, 14 Sep 1998
Defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
"Under forfeiture laws, inanimate objects can commit crimes. ... Today more than 100 federal laws authorize federal agents to confiscate private property allegedly involved in violations of statutes on wildlife, gambling, narcotics, immigration, money laundering, and on and on. Federal agents can seize your property with no court order and no proof of legal violations. Billions of dollars worth of property has been seized in this way from tens of thousands of Americans who have never been accused of a crime or stood trial. It's so difficult to get their property back that most victims never bother to try."
Related Topics: Right to Keep and Bear Arms
, War on Drugs
, Eminent Domain Protections
, Free Market
, David D. Friedman
, Health Care
, Adam Smith
, Social Security Tax
, Lysander Spooner
The Rocky Road of American Taxation
, by Charles Adams
, Mises Daily
, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
; examines tax resistance in colonial America up to the Jefferson presidency
"The Boston Tea Party was a turning point in colonial reaction to British rule. ... Bostonian merchants disguised themselves as Indians, boarded merchant ships loaded with tea, and threw the tea into the harbor. This was a wanton destruction of private property in an age when private property was held in great esteem. ... This wanton destruction of property was not well received in the colonies. Massachusetts was a known seedbed of hotheads and warmongers. Franklin was shocked and acknowledged that full restitution should be paid at once to the owners of the tea. Most Americans believed this way ..."
The Tragedy of the Commons
, by David J. Theroux
, Las Vegas Review-Journal
, 12 Jun 1994
Argues for privatization of lands owned by the United States federal government, citing the benefits of private management, the disadvantages of bureaucratic control and providing examples of enviromental groups managing private reserves
"But this 'tragedy of the commons' exists wherever private property rights over natural resources are prohibited—even in the United States. For unless people can control natural resources as private property—as their own—resources will be abused. ... The quality of management of private lands in contrast to that of public lands—whether federal, state or local—bears this out: There are few if any clear-cutting, depletion, or soil erosion problems on Boise Cascade’s properties or other private forests. There are few if any overgrazing problems on private ranches. And there is far less poaching on private lands than in public parks."
The Writings of F. A. Harper—A Review
, by Paul L. Poirot
, The Freeman
, Aug 1979
Slightly amended from the "Introduction" to The Writings of F. A. Harper
, published in 1978 by the Institute for Humane Studies, and serving as a review of the "two-volume memorial edition"
"Undoubtedly of first importance is the concept of private property—'the economic extension of the person.' The point is stressed throughout his writings, but comes most clearly, as it should, in his latest discussion, 'Property and Its Primary Form' ... Because he is his own man, the fruits of his peaceful actions are his property—and his responsibility. ... Until a man can own what he produces, he is unlikely to produce much beyond his immediate needs. But if the product is his property, then he will strive to produce enough to meet future needs and begin to think how he might trade some of those savings for other goods or services."
What you should know about the Non-Aggression Principle
, by Jason Kuznicki, 24 Feb 2017
Discusses the non-aggression principle, stating that it "depends on a valid theory of property ownership" and concludes that such a theory is in conflict with what most people view as the proper role of government
"... David Hume offered a justification for private property that rests on its effects upon human beings ... Societies in which property is privately held will cultivate useful habits and accomplishments in their members: property conduces to virtue. ... We might add to Hume the further observation that where property is held in common, individuals will often endeavor to live by the labor of others, using the common property as a means to their own ends. The efforts expended in pursuing this strategy, however ... do not add to the stock of goods that humanity has at its disposal."
Who Owns the Internet?
, by Tim Swanson, Mises Daily
, 4 May 2006
Explains how and why "net neutrality" proposals came about, monopolistic tendencies, comparisons to natural resources and others held in common, and how variable pricing has been used elsewhere to solve similar problems
"The main issue is not a matter of bit discrimination, multiple tiers, or even denial-of-service; rather it is a fight over private property and who owns the cornucopia of wires, cables, fibers and network infrastructure spanning the continent. Unfortunately due in large part to State intervention throughout the past century, this is a somewhat vague and nebulous area with many seemingly gray regions."
Why Pay For Things?
, by F. A. Harper
, The Freeman
, Jan 1956
Explains the options to how people can obtain things, in terms a five-year old can understand
"'Why do we have to pay for things?' asked a five-year-old boy at dinner one evening. ... One way to do it would be for everyone to grab what he can. ... When things are done that way, you would not really own anything. ... The other way to decide who gets what is for each person to own things. ... You own what you make. No bully has any right to it simply because he is big enough or mean enough to take it away from you. If he does take it, we say that it is still yours and he should return it to you. Under this system, the person who makes anything may sell it or give it to other people."
Zoning's Attack on Liberty and Property
, by Bart Frazier, Future of Freedom
, Oct 2006
"The worst problem of all is that zoning laws violate the fundamental right of an individual to do with his property as he pleases. ... The most basic right an individual possesses is the right to his property. ... If a person is not violating another's rights in the process, he should be free to do with his property as he wishes, whether or not his neighbors approve."