Re: Property Rights

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 10 May 1999 12:53:40 -0700 (PDT)

> Just as you can't peacefully take something from a child when the child
> thinks they own the object, you can't "eliminate property rights" when
> people still believe in the fiction. As long as people honestly believe
> there is not enough for everyone, they will try to hoard as many
> resources for themselves as possible. The concept of property rights
> justifies this hoarding. Of course, this collective hoarding behavior,
> caused by the belief that there is not enough for everyone, creates the
> situation where there is, in fact, not enough for everyone and further
> reinforces the belief and the hoarding behavior.

Do you reject conservation of mass-energy on the grounds that it is socially undesirable? Do you think that the US grain reserves appeared miraculously because American farmers believed in sharing? The paragraph above, while perhaps well-intentioned, is laughable. Excludable property--resources that can only be used by one person at a time--are a simple fact of objective reality, and no amount of hand-waving and pretty prose can change that. "Hoarding" can exacerbate shortages, and even create them, but to think that eliminating hoarding will eliminate all shortages is childish fantasy. Property rights may or may not be the best way to allocate scarce resource; it is definitely the best one so far tried. There may be an even better solution, but I doubt that denying the problem will lead to finding it.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC