Sunday, April 1, 2007

Role of Private Property

"Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785. ME 19:18, Papers 8:682

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'" --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:466

Right to private property is considered a "natural" right because with out it, man is fully a slave to those that own the property. To find more thoughts on private property rights, click here. If you ponder logically on the question of the natural right to private property, you can quickly come to the conclusion that without it, there are no rights, and no freedom. How can a man act on his own industry to improve his condition or the condition of those around him, without property? Further, how can a man be motivated to act on his industry without property? It's impossible! If you were given any type of physical property, say lumber, toward the end of building or improving your condition, or the condition of your community, and knowing that upon completion of the improvement that the product will be taken from you, without your volition or choice. What motivation would you have to produce? What capacity would you have to produce? I assert that ownership of private property is a stewardship, without which, one is left without a sense of accountability or ownership for his world, resulting in the condition that man feels entitled rather than responsible.

This is perhaps the KEY to the right of private property. It is a stewardship, and hence a responsibility. How differently we act upon our surroundings when we feel responsible. Why would our creator have interest in endowing humanity with certain inalienable rights? The only condition within which mankind could exhibit faith, choice and accountability would be within the parameters that allow for such: the inalienable rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and private property.

So what is private property? There are five pillars:

1. Land
2. Precious derivatives of the land: gold, silver, oil, etc.
3. Commodities of the land: lumber, fruit, vegetables, etc
4. Businesses
5. Intellectual property

It is interesting to note that each of these provide the foundational building blocks necessary to build assets. Assets being defined as those items that can provide income. Not to confuse assets with "liabilities" or those items that generate expense. Think of liabilities as cars, stereos, camp trailers, and any endless number of doo-dads that effectively consume value rather than produce it. Don't get me wrong, I think doo-dads have there role, and do provide value, but most generally these do not provide income. I would suggest that if all of us focused on asset production rather than liability consumption there would be little in the way of economic concerns in our day. I further assert that it is our stewardship to use the property of the earth to produce value rather than consume it. What is this "value" that we should be producing? In general I would say to serve. Serve how? Read my prior post entitled: "What is your mission" to get my take on that.

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