Re: Private Property and Capitalism

Michael Wiik (
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 11:17:05 -0700 (PDT)

David Musick writes:
> I think I'm starting to understand what Suresh Naidu is saying about private
> property. He is maintaining the position that owning private property is a
> form of coercion since the ownership is maintained by force. He also has
> indicated that if one person uses force against another, then the victim or
> their protectors are justified in using force to stop the attacker. Now, what
My two cents: there are different kinds of property. I disagree with pretty
much everything that Suresh says, but have some reservations about ownership
of land.

If A kills B, takes his land, and sells it to C, does C have a right to
the property? (multiply sells it to C as much as you like). What if B
doesn't have a concept of property, and doesn't think of himself as
"owning" the land, but perhaps more as a caretaker of the land.

Doesn't most real estate property derive (at some point in the past) from
a coercive takeover of the land? If the King of France bequeaths to some
nobleman some land (which the King obtained & maintained by coercion), does
the nobleman's descendents hundreds of years down the line have a real
right to the property? I asked this a couple of years ago, but never got
what I considered a satisfactory response.

I'm talking theory here, not practice. Land ownership may be beneficial
in many ways, but doesn't all land ownership derive from past coercion?
How is this reconciled with the NCP?


             Michael Wiik             Messagenet Communications Research