Origins of Private Property -Reply (fwd)

jwalker jwalker at
Mon Jul 17 05:47:02 MDT 1995

On Sat, 15 Jul 1995, Jim wrote:
> On Wed, 12 Jul 1995, jwalker wrote:
> > I'm just shooting from the hip here, but here's one guess as to how
> > discovering something about the origins of PP might hip us to answer
> > questions about the justice of property systems.  Suppose it turned out
> > that our distant ancestors arrived at a stage of technological
> > development at which they actually had some useful stuff -- tools, things
> > to make life a bit more comfortable, etc.  It might be that with respect
> > to certain material goods, they'd find it useful to make PP claims
> > themselves, and to honor them when others made them.
> 	I think a big part of our problem here is not making a distinction
> between PRIVATE property and PERSONAL property.
> 	Private Property is a SYSTEM of private ownership; Personal
> Property is simply the ownership of the tools, etc. that one habitually
> uses (and usually one makes themselves) and which is understood by others
> as such...


Although I'd have said that personal property is a type of private
property, I think you're dead right here.  The bit from my post that you
appended, to the extent that it's an argument for anything, is an
argument only for granting private property rights in a limited range of
stuff, particularly "personal" items.

The idea of having exclusive individual control over more than that,
potentially over anything, never fails to astonish me.

John D. Walker
jwalker at

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