It Weren't Lockean Homesteading!

"there aren't very many examples of modern property rights emerging spontaneously and peacefully out of a bargaining process. The way customary property rights yielded to modern ones was much more violent, and power and deceit played a large role." -- Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order


  1. And we are probably better for that violence and deceit. This need not be an argument against property rights. What it's an argument against is natural rights. Property rights are great! They're just messier and more ad hoc than many would like to admit.

  2. I'm all for some kinds of organic, ad hoc government, as contrasted with the modern state.

    I dunno if that makes me some sort of anarchist, or just confused.

  3. I quite agree.
    Have you gotten either of my last two emails? I'd ask you by email, but if you're not getting them, that would obviously be pointless.

  4. Daniel: what you're saying seems just plain wrong, even if you approach from a very utilitarian point of view. First of all, not only did the wrongful acquisition start from misery, it led to a perversely unequal division of wealth - if anything, I'd expect a progressive to be against this! (assuming you self-identify as a progressive or anything like it, that is.) Second, even if Lockean property rules aren't quite as neat in real life as on paper, surely there are ways of dealing with property that are preferable to violence and deceit?

    Also, according to what standard are we better off than in your counterfactual?

  5. Watoosh, I took him to be saying just, "We're better off having private property than not."


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