Property Rights

In a comment to the post “All Questions Considered” Anirudh asked:

Why should we have private property rights? Why is it considered a natural right or a fundamental human right? Are there cases where it makes sense to have shared or public land ownership?

Let’s start at the beginning. What’s property? Anything that can be owned is property. The stuff you have around you is property — someone (perhaps you) owns that stuff. Is the street lamp property? Yes but it is probably owned by the city, and not some specific person.

Private property is what is owned by an individual or an association of private individuals (such as a private corporation.) Public property is property owned by a public corporation or owned in common. Open access commons such as a pasture or a fishery (anyone can graze his cattle, or anyone can fish) is public property. Continue reading “Property Rights”