Re: Contract v. Property (was: Private Property and Capitalism)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 15:57:47 -0400

Greg Burch says:

>This may be a mere word game, but since property rights are obviously
>fundamental to more concrete transactions, what am I missing?

While I, too, have mused that contract rights presuppose property rights, I
trace the property at issue to a core notion of self-ownership. Contract
presupposes property because it relies on the self-ownership of the
contracting parties. Self-owners can, of course, own real and personal
property such as acres of land and cars, and can, of course, contract for the
disposition of such ancillary types of property. But I regard neither real
nor personal property as fundamental, since neither necessarily implies
control. Rather, control of such ancillary types of property comes grace of
proximity, practice, and legal right.

Self-ownership seems different. I own me because I alone control me. Or,
more precisely, I control me more effectively than can any other person.

T.0. Morrow