sunnuntai 7. marraskuuta 2010

Philosophers on Ownership

With this post, the collection of philosophers on ownership comes to an end. All the writings were based on James O. Grunebaum's book titled Private Ownership. The collection is by far not comprehensive and I'm sure it lacks some key philosophers. In addition I urge readers to take Grunebaum's background and view's critically into account when drawing conclusions. However the idea was to share some key aspects of insightful philosophers on ownership.

A portrait of a philosopher thinking

Based on the different view's on ownership, I have come to a conclusion and have chosen Austrian School to be the philosophic framework of the theoretical part of my dissertation. Austrian School was chosen because of it's sustainable and ethical philosophic foundation. Next, I will continue to explore the key philosophers of this line of thinking including names like Ludwig von Mises, Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Friedrick Hayek, Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman.

Opponents to private ownership

As a summary, Grunebaum finds some critics to private ownership in most of the philosophers thinking. According to him, Robert Owen and Karl Marx are not the only opponents to private ownership. Plato opposes private ownership and Rousseau believes private ownership creates both poverty and the absence of ownables. Aquinas defends a form of ownership which in some respect resembles private ownership, but the form has other aspects which significantly differ. Although Artistotle claims he is defending private ownership, his rules of land ownership are not private ownership rules. Locke and Hume, who defend private ownership under some conditions, also believe that civil governments may legitimately alter private ownership in order to promote good of the community. Finally, Rawls has argued against the idea of private ownership of natural talents and abilities.

In my view, I would conclude that John Locke, Immanuel Kant, David Hume and even Aristotle are the ones most in favor of private ownership and John Rawls, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Owens, Karl Marx and even Plato against. It seems that the main thing that cuts philosophers in half is the question of preference between individualism and collectivism. The ones for private ownership prefer individualism over collectivism and the opponents vice versa.

The collection of philosophers on ownership

Source: James O. Grunebaum. 1987. Private Ownership

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