Origins of Private Property

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Tue Jul 11 16:10:46 MDT 1995

Lisa asks "Why or when or rather under what circumstances is it worthwhile for
someone to assert a private property claim?" This does not seem to be a proper
question, for it assumes that a "private property claim" precedes the existence
of private property, which is absurd. It is like asking, "Why did I decide to
begin to speak?" But I had undoubtedly been speaking for months or years before
it occurred to me to notice that I was speaking or to have any intention of
speaking. Similarly, private property must have existed for centuries or even
millenia before its existence became noticeable. So the first person to make a
private property claim must have been the great great grandchild of the first
person to make the private property claim: that is the claims must have long
preceded the self-conscious making of the claims.
    Carrol Cox
    Illinois State Univ.

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