This study looks at an individual's right to own private property. The author argues that whether it's the need to obtain a permit to build a garage or the loss of farmland to protected wildlife preserves, the ability of a person to completely control what he or she owns is increasingly eroded. The author explores the history of property rights ...
This study looks at an individual's right to own private property. The author argues that whether it's the need to obtain a permit to build a garage or the loss of farmland to protected wildlife preserves, the ability of a person to completely control what he or she owns is increasingly eroded. The author explores the history of property rights and considers the basis of our claim. Beginning with the ancient Greeks and working his way up to the present day, he looks at basic ideas from Plato, Smith, Blackstone, Bentham, Mill and others about the right to own property and the way it is inextricably bound to concepts of justice and liberty.
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-06-29 Marx preached the abolition of private property; utopian William Godwin inveighed against property and marriage as evils; and British socialist Robert Owen, who subsidized a failed collectivist community in New Harmony, Ind., in the 1820s, taught that private property warped human character. In their wake, argues American Spectator Washington correspondent Bethell, the concept of private property has been tarnished. In a signal contribution to the debate over capitalism's future, he contends that economic prosperity and social justice are possible only when property rights are widespreadŠand protected by a legal system that holds all equal before the law. These factors, he maintains, explain the vast gulf separating the world's prosperous nations and underdeveloped economies. All over the Third World, he notes, most people are permanently at risk of eviction, seizure, squatters' or police-state depredations. It follows, he argues, that the solution to poverty is not expropriation of land and redistribution of wealth, but rather, creating an infrastructure that will secure title rights to land, homes and businesses, making private enterprise feasible. A shrewd analyst of the abortive Soviet experiment, Bethell offers a novel analysis of the mid-19th-century Irish famine, arguing that shortsighted Anglo-Irish landlords acted against their own best interests by denying tenant farmers long-term leases. Yet Bethell struggles unsuccessfully to fit undemocratic, economically booming China into his framework, and at times sounds like an apologist for China, disputing the U.S. State Department's designation of it as an authoritarian state. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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