A Hit Man Confesses
, by Christopher Westley, Mises Daily
, 12 Dec 2006
Comments and criticises John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
"It truly is sinister when a US firm, funded indirectly by taxpayer dollars, forces indigenous people [off] their land in South America because geological tests suggest that oil deposits there surpass those of the Middle East. It is sinister because it violates the property rights of both the taxpayers who fund the politically well-connected firms and of the displaced peoples and cultures whose property rights are violated when they are removed from their land (often with much suffering)."
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
"Aristotle saw property rights as an incentive mechanism. When individuals believe and feel certain that they will be permitted to keep the fruits of their own labor, they will have an inclination to apply themselves in various, productive ways, which would not be the case with common or collective ownership. ... There was another reason that Aristotle defended the right to private property against the claims of Plato. He believed that a right to property often led to a spirit of benevolence and liberality toward others."
A Summary View of the Rights of British America
, by Thomas Jefferson
Details, as a resolution to be adopted by a congress of deputies of the various states, complaints against the current and previous British kings and parliament, including laws or decrees limiting commerce, suspending state legislatures and many more
"Our Saxon ancestors held their lands, as they did their personal property, in absolute dominion, disencumbered with any superior, answering nearly to the nature of those possessions which the feudalists term allodial. ... America was not conquered by William the Norman, nor its lands surrendered to him, or any of his successors. ... It is time, therefore, for us to lay this matter before his majesty, and to declare that he has no right to grant lands of himself. ... each individual of the society may appropriate to himself such lands as he finds vacant, and occupancy will give him title."
Barack Obama: The Anti Economic Growth President
, by Jim Powell
, 29 Feb 2012
Lists and criticizes several of Obama's policies and proposals and discusses why economic growth and progress is beneficial
"But economies began to stir as individual property rights developed. England led the way. Magna Carta (1215) established the principle that property owners must be protected from arbitrary expropriation, which kings liked to do from time to time. This principle, intended to protect big landowners, was extended to everyone. England had active real estate markets at least as early as 1375. Small landowners engaged in sales, mortgages and leases. As the influential common law judge Edward Coke quipped, 'the house of an Englishman is to him as his castle.'"
Boxer's Confusion about Ownership
, by Tibor Machan
, 4 May 2007
Explains the absurdity of California Senator Barbara Boxer's statement that public lands are "owned ... by the American people" by recalling a story about Ludwig Wittgenstein
"... Norman Malcolm tells the following illustrative story about ownership: '... On one walk [Wittgenstein] "gave" me each tree that we passed, with the reservation that I was not to cut it down or do anything to it, or prevent the previous owners from doing anything to it ...' The moral of Wittgenstein's gesture is plain: Ownership without the authority to decide to what use what is being owned will be put is meaningless, absurd. ... If the American people need to be allowed to make certain kinds of use of the lands Senator Boxer's bill makes public property, they aren't the owners of such property."
California's Blow Against Property Rights
, by Sheldon Richman
, Dec 1997
Discusses the concepts of private property and property rights in view of California's law forbidding smoking in bars, beginning in January 1998
"We generally understand that the owner of private property sets the rules — that's what it means to be the owner. Take that right away and property rights are gutted. That principle does not change if the owner opens his place to the public in order to make a profit. Morally speaking, he retains the right to set the rules. It is his right to decide whether to serve Mexican food or Chinese food. Likewise, it is his right to decide whether to permit or prohibit smoking. It is up to him. Potential customers have a right too: the right to avoid the property. If they do not like the rules, they are free to go elsewhere."
Capitalism Saves Us All
, by Bernard Chapin, 14 Jun 2004
A review of How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
"Di Lorenzo informs us that the failure of the Jamestown settlement in 1607 (and the accompanying starvation of its inhabitants) was largely due to an absence of private property rights. They had no incentive to farm, as what they harvested they could not keep, so they chose not to produce at all. In 1611, when a 'high marshal' was sent to the colony, its fortunes immediately reversed after the marshal allocated three acres of land for each man's personal cultivation."
Don't Do It, Google
, by Lew Rockwell
, 2 May 2006
Cautions Google not to take the rumored action of asking the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission to intervene to prevent Microsoft from setting their search engine as the default in a new version of their web browser
"There is also the matter of property rights. MS does own Windows and it will own its successor too. It also owns Internet Explorer. It also owns its search engine. How it bundles those products must be left to the owner. The alternative is to get the government involved in designing and managing how software is built, managed, and marketed. ... Rumors have abounded for years that someday Google will come up with an operating system that runs off its own servers and provide a serious competitive alternative to Microsoft. That may yet happen, in which case Google needs to be free to compete without having to jump through regulatory hoops."
Economic Ideas: Francis Hutcheson and a System of Natural Liberty
, by Richard Ebeling
, William Holden, 21 Nov 2016
Discusses the main themes in Hutcheson's System of Moral Philosophy
"Hutcheson was adamant on the justice and importance of private property rights. Property rights give individuals the means of pursuing their own happiness and the happiness of those whom they are most concerned about and interested in, especially family and friends. In addition, private property rights serve as the essential institution through which men have the motive and ability to apply their industry and efforts to improve their own circumstances, and through this, to indirectly improve the mutual conditions of all others in society, as well."
Extortion in Port Chester
, by Sheldon Richman
, 5 Jan 2007
Relates the case of the Village of Port Chester, New York which granted exclusive rights to a development area and then overrode the rights of someone whose property laid partly in the area
"A contract is a contract, says Mark Tulis, attorney for the Village. There's just one problem: Didden was not a consenting party to the contract. The Village made commitments on his behalf without his permission. ... Local planning entities and politically connected developers have been running roughshod over property rights for years. It has become so common that it's hardly controversial anymore. It's just the way things are done. Most people think economic development couldn't happen without such practices."
, by Tom G. Palmer, Reason
, Jun 1993
Review of Liberty and Nature: An Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order
by Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl
"Rasmussen and Den Uyl use this insight of Aristotle's as the foundation for an entire case for recognition of individual rights and private property: first, by substituting 'other people' for 'fortune'; second, by showing how self-directedness as an essential element of eudaimonia requires the ability to interact with physical objects, hence the right to property."
Herbert, Auberon (1838-1906)
, by Eric Mack, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"Herbert defended property rights as extensions of the individual's rights of self-ownership. To deny an individual the right to the product of his faculties and energies is to deny him the right to those faculties and energies. Cultivated land is as much the product of one's labor as the crops that are cultivated. So, contrary to Herbert Spencer, rights to a certain portion of land are as well established as the rights to the crops that issue from that land. Individuals may not be deprived of their rightful possessions without their consent. For this reason, they may not be subject to force or fraud."
How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims
, by Tom Bethell, Hoover Digest
Excerpted and adapted from The Noblest Triumph
"Knowing that the fruits of his labor would benefit his own family and dependents, the head of each household was given an incentive to work harder. ... the division of property established a proportion or 'ratio' between act and consequence. Human action is deprived of rationality without it, and work will decline sharply as a result."
In Pursuit of Liberty
, by Jarret Wollstein
, May 1997
Primer on liberty concepts, including voluntary vs. coercive associations, individual rights, government and possible future improvements in the status quo
"The right to property – the freedom to acquire, control, use and dispose of material possessions – is essential. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Without the right to publish and read magazines and newspress papers, you have no freedom of and little freedom of speech. Without the right to own religious books and support houses of worship, you have no freedom of religion. Without the right to earn a living and keep what you earn, there is no right to life. Without the right to own and use weapons, you can't defend your life, home or family."
Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration
, by Sheldon Richman
, 10 Jan 2014
After describing and providing references on the case against IP laws, reviews Butler Shaffer's essay "A Libertarian Critique of Intellectual Property"
"Practices respectful of private property in physical objects and land emerged spontaneously over millennia, embedded in customs that served to avert conflict in order to create space within which social beings could flourish. ... In contrast, 'rights' in ideas — patents and copyrights — were government monopoly grants having nothing in common with the notion of property at the heart of libertarianism. In fact, such artificial rights undermine genuine property by authorizing IP holders to enlist government power to stop other people from using their justly acquired resources and ideas."
Lane, Rose Wilder (1886-1968)
, by Amy H. Sturgis, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"... Lane explored the meaning of constitutionalism and republicanism, often returning to what she viewed as the fundamental right of property. 'It is a legal right,' Lane wrote of property, 'absolutely essential to an individual's exercise of his natural rights.' Lane argued that, in the 'daring aim of the Revolution' or the defense of property rights, the colonials hit on the cornerstone of the later U.S. system and the reason for its success. Her views on the crucial importance of private property and a government circumscribed by strict limits were underscored by her visit to the Soviet Union, where, unlike so many writers of the period, she was appalled."
Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution
, by Murray Rothbard
, Cato Journal
Examines the principles of tort law, how to determine what is just property and how to deal with invasions of property such as air pollution
"... tort or criminal law is a set of prohibitions against the invasion of, or aggression against, private property rights; that is, spheres of freedom of action by each individual. ... then the implication of the command, 'Thou shall not interfere with A's property right,' is that A's property right is just and therefore should not be invaded."
Nozick, Robert (1938-2002)
, by Ellen Frankel Paul, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"[Nozick] offers the example of Wilt Chamberlain to demonstrate how wealth can be accumulated by voluntary transfer from basketball fans to a noted basketball star, transfers that would upset any original egalitarian distribution, but seem in each instance legitimate. In contrast to end-result principles, Nozick propounds a historical theory of distributive justice, which he calls the entitlement theory. Property holdings, he contends, are justified only when based on three principles: the legitimacy of original acquisition, transfer by voluntary exchange, or the rectification for transfers that depart from the first two principles."
Ownership and Ideas
, by Sheldon Richman
, 12 Sep 2014
Critiques some statements by Murray Rothbard about ownership of created products and the appropriateness of others copying such products
"In deriving property rights, he used the example of a 'sculptor fashioning a work of art out of clay and other materials.' ... I find it odd that Rothbard wants us to ignore, even if only for the moment, the 'original property rights in the clay and the sculptor's tools.' ... As Rothbard acknowledges, when we talk about creation, we don't mean it literally, as though a product comes from nothing. As libertarian thinkers have always understood, when we create things, we only change other already existing things from a less valuable (useful) form to a more valuable (useful) form."
Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block
, by Walter Block
, Austrian Economics Newsletter
Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, the legality of blackmail and barriers to Austrians in academia
"The problem with Coase is with his view of social cost. He believes property rights should be defined in terms of whether wealth will be maximized. In practice, this empowers judges to become central planners. This is contrary to the libertarian theory that property rights ought to be defined in terms of the homesteading principle and market exchange. The problem here is that this intellectual virus has pretty well taken over the entire profession. ... the Coaseian framework says that we don't know what property rights are until the judge announces his verdict in the case of a dispute."
Related Topics: Anarcho-Capitalism
, Ludwig Lachmann
, Man, Economy, and State
, Minimum Wage Laws
, Ludwig von Mises
, Private Roads
, Murray Rothbard
, The State
Real Liberalism and the Law of Nature
, by Sheldon Richman
, 10 Aug 2007
Examines Hodgskin's introductory letter to Henry Brougham, a Member of Parliament (later Lord Chancellor), written in 1829, published in The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted
"'... now, in compliment to political power ... we must believe that men had naturally no right to pick up cockles on the beach or gather berries from the hedge — no right to cultivate the earth, to invent and make comfortable clothing, to use instruments to provide more easily for their enjoyments — no right to improve and adorn their habitations — nay, no right to have habitations — no right to buy or sell, or move from place to place — till the benevolent and wise law-giver conferred all these rights on them.' If this be the basis of the political system, Hodgkin wanted no part of it."
Reasoning on the Nature of Things
, by Clarence B. Carson, The Freeman
, Feb 1982
Discusses how natural law doctrines were repudiated by utilitarians, why natural rights are important from an economic viewpoint, how the rights to life, liberty and property can be construed and what the author understands as the "social contract"
"The natural right to property arises in this way. That which a person has conceived in his own mind, made with his own hands, utilizing his own tools, from his materials, is his by right. It is his right, then, to keep it or dispose of it at will: to save, to sell, or to bequeath to whom he will. The right to private property in land is a corollary to the natural right to property. The right to improvements on the land belong naturally to him who made them (unless he was otherwise compensated) but the right can only be secured by property in the land itself."
Related Topics: Jeremy Bentham
, John Stuart Mill
, Ronald Reagan
, Adam Smith
Senator Feinstein and property rights
, by Thomas Sowell
, 10 Nov 2003
Discusses Dianne Feinstein's comment that private property is "alive and well" in San Francisco as evidenced by its high property values
"One of the main reasons for the outrageous housing prices in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay area is precisely the over-riding of property rights. Endless restrictions, obstructions, and bureaucratic delays facing anyone who is building anything on their own property in this area have forced housing costs to astronomical levels. ... The costs are even higher when rent control laws over-ride property rights and create housing shortages in the process. Homelessness is particularly acute in cities with severe rent control laws, such as San Francisco and New York."
, by David Prychitko, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
Describes socialism, the economic calculation debate and some socialist variations such as market socialism, decentralized participatory socialism, anarcho-communism and the welfare-regulatory state
"Trapped in an overly formal and empirically empty model of markets and equilibrium prices, market socialists failed to understand the brunt of the Austrian case against socialism; effective coordination requires not merely markets for consumer goods, but markets for all the means used to produce consumer goods. However, markets for the means of production can only come about with private property rights to capital goods, something that socialism had consistently fought to destroy since it treads too close to capitalism."
Some reflections on Georgism
, by Tibor Machan
, Rational Review
, 29 Jul 2004
Argues against the Henry George idea that since land was not made by any individual, nobody can claim ownership rights over it
"What is crucial is that the recognition of the value that something can hold for us is the product of individual human beings. ... Combined with the actions guided by this recognition, there is merit in the ascription of property rights accordingly. ... Since there is no one else who has done so much for the creation of this value than the individual who recognized the potential and then acted on it, he or she ought to be the one to use and control it-- he has property rights to it. Collective ownership, in light of this individually dependent entrepreneurial function individuals perform, is unjust."
The Income Tax: Root of All Evil
, by Frank Chodorov
, The Income Tax: Root Of All Evil
Excerpt from Chodorov's book with the same title; discusses the effects of the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution
"... when this amendment became part of the Constitution, in 1913, the absolute right of property in the United States was violated. ... The citizen is sovereign only when he can retain and enjoy the fruits of his labor. If the government has first claim on his property he must learn to genuflect before it. When the right of property is abrogated, all the other rights of the individual are undermined, and to speak of the sovereign citizen who has no absolute right of property is to talk nonsense. It is like saying that the slave is free because he is allowed to do anything he wants to do (even vote, if you wish) except to own what he produces ..."
The Natural Right of Property: Not to be confused with government-created artificial rights
, by Sheldon Richman
, 17 Aug 2007
Examines Hodgskin writings in The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted
"Locke's commonwealth, says Hodgskin, has not lived up to its theory. ... 'The right of property created and protected by the law, is the artificial or legal right of property, as contra-distinguished from the natural right of property. It may be the theory that government ought to protect the natural right; in practice, government seems to exist only to violate it.'"
Thomas Jefferson's Sophisticated, Radical Vision of Liberty
, by Jim Powell
, The Freeman
, Jul 1995
Biographical essay, highlighting Jefferson's "felicity of expression" that led him to write the famous words in the Declaration of Independence
"He insisted that liberty is impossible without secure private property: 'a right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings. ...' How gracefully he rejected envious appeals to seize wealth: 'To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers had acquired too much ... is to violate arbitrarily the principle of association, the guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'"
What Beijing needs to learn from Hong Kong
, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post
, 26 Sep 2003
Discusses China's recent progress in economic liberalisation and the need for further reform, particularly in protecting private property
"Most important, there is still no rule of law to protect property rights. When the state owns the presses, controls the media, requires internal passports and limits all political speech, individuals lose their autonomy. China's leaders have placed great emphasis on achieving robust economic growth. ... The dilemma, of course, is that the stronger the protection of property rights, the weaker the power of the party."
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
"... property claims must derive from something; they seem all but inescapable. Claims about property are found even among animals. The earliest known forms of writing are tallies that were apparently used to keep track of possessions. Contrary to what some on the left may say, no human society appears ever to have been entirely without property. Indeed, even a wholly communist society would run on the assertion that the whole of the people is the collective owner of all property."