property rights

property rights

Property rights are among those basic rights of a free society.

Though all societies put some limit on the right to hold property, all modern societies including the most extreme collectivist ones, do recognize at least de facto property rights, e.g. land tenure of farmers in China where the state technically owns all land. Also personal property such as clothing, vehicles, tools and other items actually used by a person, is nearly universally recognized in all systems of thought.

When person status is granted to groups or corporate entities, i.e. something other than a human individual, continuing to respect property rights (often in a more limited form) is one of the founding assumptions of a free market.

In the 20th century, the "rights" of corporations, governments and other collectives have been framed in terms of an analogy to individual personal property ownership. This is a hotly disputed issue. There are many theories of economics in which respect for historic usage and claims based on prior utility are challenged, that is, in which some model of social utility is applied to justify a deprivation of rights in property, much as it is used to remove freedom from people for crimes, or to deny people who lack some credential rights to practice a trade.

Such initiatives tend to be very optimistic regarding the ability of humans to agree on how to use property, especially productive capital that can create wealth for those who control it.Perhaps also due to the space-binding nature of our animal cognition, humans are profoundly resistant to decision processes that may deprive them of their home or tools needed to do their work at any time. Many theories of political philosophy are based on this stability of human attachment to home, to work, and to daily living habits that become reliant on control of properties.

The most typically stated alternative to private property is public property - the "commons", which belong to a defined community by some historical right, and the "public domain", to which access is unlimited and which anyone may access even with no historical claim.

All theories of economics require that the state should secure some form of property rights to promote the general good, and specifically encourage economic development and utilization of property. This is taken to its extreme in neoclassical economics which believes in nearly universal applicability of supply-demand curves and Pareto-optimal outcomes.

Traditionally, the bundle of entitlements includes "the right to":

1. control use of the property

2. benefit from the property, e.g. mining rights and rent

3. transfer or sell the property

4. exclude others from the property.

5. destroy the property or render it useless to others

free market, libertarianism, public sector, intellectual property rights

sources and resources

property rights