Leftist’s Preferred Property Rule

For some it’s ethical, for others it’s consequential, but the preferred property rule of all leftists, from the government-loving social democrats and progressives to the anti-state anarcho-communists (et al), seems to me (and I could be wrong) to be that if you need something that someone else has (and doesn’t need), you should get it, by any means necessary.

For government-lovers, that means expansive social programs to give to the have-nots food, clothing, shelter, health-care, education, security, etc. paid for from funds violently expropriated from the haves.

For anti-staters, that means violent revolution and means-of-production seizure from the haves to provide food, clothing, shelter, health-care, education, security, etc. for the have-notes (a collectivization of all resources).

If someone needs something that you have, they may take it, in a nutshell. And this is supposedly ethical and will lead to more prosperity and abundance for all.

In contrast, non-leftists, the libertarians, free market conservatives, classical liberals, and anarcho-capitalists preferred property rule is something along the lines of first come, first serve. If you find it in nature and put it to some use, it’s yours without regard to the needs of others. If there is someone with a need, they can offer to trade for what you have and what you’ve built and what you’ve had the foresight and entrepreneurial ingenuity to develop. And to them, this is both ethical and most likely to create prosperity and abundance for all.

So, what do economic theory and history teach us about either property rule? Which actually will lead to prosperity and abundance for all? That’s the important question, after all.

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.