Origins of Private Property

jwalker jwalker at
Tue Jul 11 17:30:18 MDT 1995

Well, I'm sure Lisa can and will speak for herself.  But the following
post from Carrol is purest sophism.  Or perhaps I should say straw-manning.

I strongly suppose that Lisa means by "private property claim" not an
utterance which includes the words "private property", but instead a
assertion of rightful exclusive control over some object, parcel of
land, or whatever.  Such claims came to be *called* private property claims
only later on.

The question when and why such claims were first made is, I think, an
interesting one.

On Tue, 11 Jul 1995, Carrol Cox wrote:

> 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.
>      --- from list marxism at ---

John D. Walker
jwalker at

     --- from list marxism at ---


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