Sunday, April 27, 2014

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson On Private Property

 Contributed by y in the comments:

"All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."

Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris, 25 Dec. 1783

"Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing; its Contributions therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt."

Benjamin Franklin, Queries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1789

"While it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from Nature at all … it is considered by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no one has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land … Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society."

Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson, 13 Aug. 1813


Unknown said...

Another blow to neoclassical economists. Human rights, especially right to land, trump private property rights.

Tom Hickey said...

Neoclassical economists assumes a market with no government, no banks, and no intruding social, political or economic institutional arrangements that supervene or strongly influence, in which there is near perfect symmetry among individuals wrt all relevant information and bargaining power. It's not even correct to call the model built on such assumptions simplistic. It's a fantasy world.

Unknown said...

I'm sick to my stomach these "experts."

Roger Erickson said...

We went through thousands of years of "StrongMen" & Priests justifying their right to be "more equal" than the rest of growing populations.

Now we're STILL revisiting the question of whether to have, or not have, royalty?

For this to even be a topic of discussion, 200 years after the American Revolution, means that our education system has once again been rendered dysfunctional and irrelevant.

Time to pay attention to the "3i's" of Contingency Management - or we can't survive.

Impact (now)
Incoming (already in process)
Instigation (origination)

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