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The Justification of Private Property


  • Dan Usher

    () (Queen's University)


Justification of private property may be rights-based or needs-based. One may believe that society with private ownership of a significant part of the means of production is good or just in itself, or one may believe that a society with private ownership of a significant part of the means of production is desirable as an instrument to procure other things such as prosperity, personal freedom and the absence of tyranny. This paper defends to former view. Traditional justifications based on the will of God, 'first occupation", acquisition by labour, or social contract all seem to me inadequate. Instead, private property is bracketed with majority-rule voting, public administration and law as essential supports of almost everything we value in life.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Usher, 1998. "The Justification of Private Property," Working Papers 970, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:970

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    More about this item


    Property; Voting; Law;

    JEL classification:

    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General


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