Common Property Theory

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Here are some bibliographic recommendations by Kevin Carson of

General Theories of Property

Question: How do individuals claim ownership of something in the first place? What gives anyone the right to own something? Are there limits to what can be owned, for how much and for how long, and why?

Kevin Carson: The three big rival theories of property theory in land that more or less fall under the "free market" or "classical liberal" category are 1) Lockean; 2) the J.K. Ingalls-Benjamin Tucker doctrine of occupancy and use; and 3) the Georgist system of community collection of rent.

All three, interestingly enough, agree that individual property in unowned land and natural resources is established by "mixing one's labor" with the land, or altering it in some way. But they differ in the rules for transfer and abandonment.

I'd recommend, first of all, the major texts of the three schools.

For Locke, that would be the *Second Treatise on Government*. For occupancy and use, it would be Joshua King Ingalls' Social Wealth, and the land section of Tucker's *Instead of a Book*. For Georgist, the main source is *Progress and Poverty by Henry George*.

I would also recommend Robert Nozick's *Anarchy, State, and Utopia*, for his discussion of the basic requirements for any property theory: a theory of 1) initial appropriation; 2) transfer; and 3) extinction or abandonment.

Chapter Five of Kevin Carson's book, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, quotes the comparative material I on property rights.

Common Property Theory

Question: how does something common become common?

Kevin Carson: A good (and very sympathetic) article on common property, from a radical Lockean stanpoint, is Roderick Long's "A Plea for Public Property" Formulations 5:3 (Spring 1998)

Another is Carlton Hobbs' "Common Property in Free Market Anarchism: A Missing Link"