Origins of Private Property -Reply -Reply

kevin john geiger geigerk at ucsu.colorado.edu
Fri Jul 21 09:59:56 MDT 1995


On Thu, 20 Jul 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 17:38:32 -0600
> From: Lisa Rogers <EQDOMAIN.EQWQ.LROGERS at email.state.ut.us>
> To: marxism at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
> Subject: Re: Origins of Private Property -Reply -Reply
>
> Jim, I don't think we've answered my question, which I think is
> interesting: _why_ would people have or not have "avarice"?
>
> It cannot only be the fault of capitalism, because that just leaves
> the problem of how the avarice of capitalism itself came about,
> doesn't it?  I suspect the questions are related.
>
> You don't have to believe it, but I know that many pre or
> noncapitalist societies do indeed have concepts and behavior
> regarding property.  There is no such thing as a "communal herd" or
> "communal garden" in "primitive communism".  Everyone knows exactly
> which cow belongs to who, who dug those tubers, who's arrow killed
> the wildebeast, who shot the arrow, which garden is which, who has
> rights of land use or tenure, etc.

Hello all,
I am a new subscriber from Colorado and have enjoyed the lively
discussion so far.  Here are some of my thoughts on a recent topic:

Lisa,

Quite right!  I think the important point that needs to be understood from
this discussion is that the private property paradigm, and avarice, are
much more developed under capitalism than any other social system in
known history.  I think there is evidence that private property is not
restricted to capitalist societies but it has never been *this* perverse.
Why that has occurred may be the question we need to explore.  For example,
what has been the role of governments in protecting private property and
enabling an accumulation of property?  Also, isn't it odd that property
crimes in the USA, and other capitalist countries, are treated more
seriously than let's say an assault, ie rape?  You raise an
important question.

Under this capitalist system I have a problem with what I see as a
notion to own everything, or at least to have the ability to own
everything.  Perhaps I am in the minority but I hope not!

I went to a seminar last week in Montana where the people wanted to
solve environmental problems through "free-market" solutions.  To me this
is an oxymoron...I blame capitalism and the growth of markets for much of
our environmental degradation.  To these people, however, markets are the
solution.  The air we breath, well that should have clear property rights
than can be bought and sold, according to them.  Tragically, I found
there were other students who supported this idea.  So, somehow, our
society has bought into the private property paradigm and several
elements want to intensify its role in society.

Of course, the example I used of dividing air up is not very feasible at
the moment (good thing).  But if it were, be sure that they would want to
setup a system of property rights for the air.

Kevin



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