Property  

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"Property is theft!" --Proudhon


"The growth of the idea of property, and the rise of monogamy, furnished motives sufficiently powerful to demand and obtain [a] change in order to bring children into the gens of their father, and into a participation in the inheritance of his estate. Monogamy assured the paternity of children; which was unknown when the gens was instituted, and the exclusion of children from the inheritance was no longer possible. "--from Lewis H. Morgan's Ancient Society.


"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are lost if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!" — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In the abstract, property is that which belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, property is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society.

In philosophy, a property is an attribute of an object.

Pierre Proudhon – property is theft

In his 1849 treatise What is Property?, Pierre Proudhon answers with "Property is theft!" In natural resources, he sees two types of property, de jure property (legal title) and de facto property (physical possession), and argues that the former is illegitimate. Proudhon's conclusion is that "property, to be just and possible, must necessarily have equality for its condition."

His analysis of the product of labor upon natural resources as property (usufruct) is more nuanced. He asserts that land itself cannot be property, yet it should be held by individual possessors as stewards of mankind with the product of labor being the property of the producer. Proudhon reasoned that any wealth gained without labor was stolen from those who labored to create that wealth. Even a voluntary contract to surrender the product of labor to an employer was theft, according to Proudhon, since the controller of natural resources had no moral right to charge others for the use of that which he did not labor to create and therefore did not own.

Proudhon's theory of property greatly influenced the budding socialist movement, inspiring anarchist theorists such as Mikhail Bakunin who modified Proudhon's ideas, as well as antagonizing theorists like Karl Marx.

See also

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Property" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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