Collective Ownership

There is legitimate collective ownership, and there is illegitimate “collective ownership”.

The difference is consent. Not “implied consent”, which isn’t a real thing, but actual consent.

If I join together with some people and we all chip in to buy a plot of land, and understand explicitly how the land will be used (or choose to not be involved in that decision), then the land is collectively owned. Great! There is Unanimous Consent; this makes this collective ownership legitimate.

However…

If I am told that because I live in a certain place, being born there, I have a share in the collective ownership of the whole region, including other people’s private property, but that no one can opt out of the rules imposed on the land without moving away, this is not legitimate collective ownership. If someone I don’t like, don’t trust, or don’t respect claims to have the “authority” to administer the land on my behalf, against my wishes, this is illegitimate. Nothing can make it legitimate without Unanimous Consent. This is a violation of property rights, not a way to express them.

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Kent McManigal

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