Rights of an owner to use and dispose of assets


Boxer's Confusion about Ownership, by Tibor R. Machan, 4 May 2007
Explains the absurdity of California Senator Barbara Boxer's statement that public lands are "owned ... by the American people"
"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."
Related Topics: Communism, John Locke
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
"We generally understand that the owner of private property sets the rules ... That principle does not change if the owner opens his place to the public in order to make a profit. ... 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."
Related Topic: California
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."
Housing Discrimination Laws and the Continuing Erosion of Property Rights, by George C. Leef, Future of Freedom, May 1999
How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims, by Tom Bethell, Hoover Digest, 1999
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."
Ownership and Ideas, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Sep 2014
Critiques some statements by Murray Rothbard in For a New Liberty about ownership of created products
"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. (At least that is the goal.)"
Senator Feinstein and property rights, by Thomas Sowell, 10 Nov 2003
"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."
Some reflections on Georgism, by Tibor R. Machan, Rational Review, 29 Jul 2004
"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."
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 M. 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."
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 Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 2 May 2006
Cautions Google not to take the rumoured 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."
Related Topics: Free Market, Government
First Freedom, by Tom 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."
Related Topics: Rights, Aristotle
In Pursuit of Liberty, by Jarret B. 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 earn a living and keep what you earn, there is no right to life."
Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution, by Murray N. Rothbard, Cato Journal 2, 1982
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."
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.'"
Related Topic: Thomas Hodgskin
Thomas Jefferson's Sophisticated, Radical Vision of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1995
"Jefferson ... 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. ...'"
Related Topic: Thomas Jefferson
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."
Related Topics: China, Hong Kong

Cartoons and Comic Strips

What is "Independence Day" About, Father?, by Chuck Asay, 2 Jul 2005


The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted, by Thomas Hodgskin, 1832
Electronic text available at the Online Library of Liberty
The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages
    by Tom Bethell, 1998