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On The Thinness Of The Utilitarian Defense Of Private Property




Why did classical utilitarian thinkers offer only a thin defense of the institution of private property? Utilitarians might have viewed such a defense as irrelevant, trivial, or impossible. A fourth hypothesis holds that utilitarians were ambivalent about the institution, itself. The utilitarians are clear on the relevance of a defense. Triviality would have to be based on 18th century philosophers and historians. Impossibility would raise serious questions about the utilitarian project. Ambivalence seems the most plausible explanation. Utilitarian writings throw considerable doubt on their own commitment to the strongest versions of the defense of private property.

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  • Persky, Joseph, 2010. "On The Thinness Of The Utilitarian Defense Of Private Property," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 63-83, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:32:y:2010:i:01:p:63-83_99

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. G. Hayes, 2006. "The Economics of Keynes," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12601.
    2. John F. Helliwell, 2006. "From Flapper to Bluestocking: What Happened to the Young Woman of Wellington Street?," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2005(Winter), pages 31-39.
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