Tuesday, 14 December 2010


This month's issue digs deep in political theory. To get readers thinking in the right frame of mind, let's consider two questions. First, if the government stopped existing tomorrow, would you still own your property? A simple answer might be: You'd hope so. Even if you didn't have any guarantees of it, you could still make the moral claim, couldn't you? Or does it really all depend on the state, whose disappearance would throw your ownership claim into confusion? Second, suppose your neighbors voted by all the appropriate democratic forms to take away your property. Would their claim be stronger than yours, even if you had paid for it and cared for it over the years? Which political claims are sufficient to deprive a person of property? And which are not? The nature of property rights affects everything around us. But as this month's lead essay shows, defining property itself can be a contentious act.
- Against Overlordship, by Daniel B. Klein
- In Defense of Reason and a More Balanced Free Society, by Matthias Matthijs
- A Positive Account of Rights, by David D. Friedman
- Creation, Consent, and Government Control over Property Rights, by Ilya Somin

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