In the abstract, the position I want to defend and develop is this:
-That ownership of property is a form of political dominion, and has developed historically out of political dominion more generally.
This is in direct contradiction to the view sometimes offered by anti-communists, namely:
-That the right to own property is central to and essential to individual freedom, and to live without such “property” is necessarily to be unfree.
The previous post talks a little about what is meant by ‘property’, so I should not be taken as saying that anyone having any control over any items as an individual is ‘property’. I mean specifically the institution of property that is widespread and powerful in our society – something that combines rights of use, exclusion, trade, and destruction, and which encompasses almost all goods, whether they are land, capital, food, clothes, ideas, printing presses, ships, bicycles, coffee beans, coffee machines, or coffee shops, and brings them under a single integrated system of exchange.
Now, one way to support such an account would be to simply point at the control and power exercised by people who own a lot of property over those who own little. Some people might find that convincing, others might not. I’m going to assume that the reader does not. To such a reader, their immediate impression of property seems entirely different from their immediate impression of power and control. Owning things, investing things, trading things, employing people, buying things for people, look much more like actions of self-empowerment, autonomy, not like actions of dominating and controlling others.
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