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Reflections on the Right to Private Property

  • Machan Tibor

    (Chapman University & Stanford University)

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    S’il n’existe qu’un seul problème intellectuel et culturel vraiment sérieux concernant le capitalisme, c’est celui du manque d’une défense morale soutenue et largement connue, pour ne pas dire acceptée, de l’institution des droits de propriété privée.Il n’y a pas de doute, dans le monde actuel, qu’une société dotée d’une infrastructure légale où cette institution fait défaut connaisse un grave désordre économique. Le fait de ne pas respecter et protéger légalement l’institution de la propriété privée — et ses corollaires, comme la liberté de contracter et de poser les termes par les parties en affaire — a provoqué les faiblesses économiques à travers le monde.Sans une défense morale, l’institution de la propriété privée, qui est la source de beaucoup d’ avantages pour nous tous, restera pour toujours vulnérable aux critiques, du style de celle de Karl Marx qui disait que “le droit de l’homme à la propriété est le droit de jouir de ses possessions et d’en disposer arbitrairement, sans souci des autres hommes, indépendamment de la société, le droit de l’égoïsme”.Cet essai proclame que contrairement aux sentiments et impressions répandus, l’institution des droits de propriété privée est en accord avec la conception pratique de la moralité humaine.If there is one really serious intellectual and cultural problem with capitalism it stems from the lack of a sustained and widely known, let alone accepted, moral defense of the institution of private property rights.Few doubt, in today’s world, that a society with a legal infrastructure that lacks this institution is in serious economic trouble. The failure to respect and legally protect the institution of private property — and its corollaries, such as freedom of contract and of setting the terms by the parties to trade — has produced economic weakness across the globe.Without a moral defense, however, the institution of private property, which is the source of a great many benefits to us all, will forever remain vulnerable to the critics, such as Karl Marx who said that “the right of man to property is the right to enjoy his possessions and dispose of the same arbitrarily, without regard for other men, independently from society, the right of selfishness.”This essay argues that contrary to such widespread sentiments and impressions, the institution of private property rights fully accords with a sensible conception of human morality.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-19

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:10:y:2000:i:1:n:7
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