(CORE) Propertarianism : Uniting Hoppe And Hayek

“Hayek’s work composes a system of ideas, fully as ambitious as the systems of Mill and Marx, but far less vulnerable to criticism than theirs because it is grounded on a philosophically defensible view of the scope and limits of human reason. ”

–John N. Gray, in Hayek on Liberty (1984), Preface, p. ix

I originally thought I was trying to reconcile Hayek and Mises — at least, that’s what I remember saying to Walter Block — but really, it turns out, that it’s Mises (calculation), Hoppe (institutions), Rothbard (property as calculation) and Hayek (limits of reason) that needed uniting.

If you stop for a moment, long enough to grasp that we do not need to JUSTIFY libertarianism (philosophy) as much as simply UNDERSTAND human moral behavior (science), then the question is not what we should choose to believe or prefer to believe, but only what institutions compensate for the deficiencies in our ability to cooperate because of fragmentary knowledge, AND cognitive and moral biases. The result is a libertarian bias in the formation all institutions.

The problem is not ‘what we should do’ but ‘what can we not do’ without institutions to assist us in cooperating where we cannot cooperate without them. Where cooperation means to cooperate with people we do not and cannot know on means of achieving multiplicative ends, many of which are in conflict, and all of which represent our individual reproductive strategies.

It’s common for us to discuss Capital in all its forms: Financial, Physical, Institutional, Human and Social.

But, I don’t like the term ‘social capital’ for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which is that the term ‘social’ is heavily loaded. But most importantly, because for the female, collectively-biased mind, ‘social’ implies ‘agreement and consent’.

Whereas, my preferred term, “informal institutions” consisting of manners, ethics, morals, habits, traditions, rituals, myths, metaphysical biases, is a largely involuntary, non-consensual, habituated rules, reduced to intuitions, many of which we may not even be aware of – and most which we cannot distinguish from biological and genetic instinct.

It’s common for us to discuss Capital in all its forms:
1) Human Capital,
2) Informal Institutional Capital,
3) Intellectual Capital,
4) Formal institutional Capital,
5) Physical Capital,
6) Financial Capital,
7) Geographic Capital.

And to do so in that order, as a sequence from the human being, to physical space, and each dependent upon its priors.

Extending property to the full suite of categories which human beings demonstrate that they treat as property, we are able to reconcile the Austro-libertarian program and rescue it from its past errors. We can take calculation and praxeology from mises, and complete praxeology as a biologically based science of incentives, remove deduction from it, but retain praxeology’s ability to test any incentive given the similarity of our sensitivity to incentives. We can take Hayek and show that he simply did not make the connection between the various categories of property and his insights into the limits of information and knowledge.

We are able to reduce to very compact form, the theory of human cooperation, as non-arbitrary, entirely rational pursuit of our reproductive strategy in whatever organization we are members of.

To unite these thinkers into ratio-scientific form requires only the following limited steps:
0) Start with private property, and voluntary exchange
1) Add remaining categories of property
2) Add ethical requirement for symmetry and warranty
3) Add ethical requirement against transfer by externality
4) Add ethical requirement for operational language
5) Add ethical requirement for ‘calculability’ (retention of relation)
6) Add institutional government by contract not law.

The rest is a set of tactics that require only different levels of technology to achieve the same result.


People pursue their economic and reproductive interests, but only as long as there is an incentive and a means to do so. We are not equal in our reproductive value – which is obvious. Just as we are not equal in our economic value – value to each other.

The diversity of moral biases increases with the diversity of the reproductive structure. If we all exist in nuclear families in one group, and all exist in tribes in another, then the moral code that he nuclear families operate between all members of all groups, will differ from the bifurcated morally of the tribal group. Because the tribal group treats all non-family as another ‘state’ just as the nuclear families treat all individuals as belonging to their family. This creates an asymmetry of morals, since at all times, both sides attempt to keep all rewards in their families. Except that the nuclear family system keeps rewards universally, and the tribal family does not. As such the nuclear family is easy prey to the immorality of the tribal family.

Furthermore, under matrilinealism, women trade sex and affection for calories, where as under paternalism men trade calories and security for sex and care-taking using property. In each system there is a bias in reproductive control for each gender.

Under the nuclear, traditional, and extended families, our reproductive male and female strategies are politically homogenized since what is politically good for one is good for the other. But under the dissolution of the family into single parenthood, and roaming males, reproductive interests are polarized between each group.

And that is what we see in modern democracy, with the only difference that military prowess (power) gives nations a more masculine character, and lack of it gives nations are more feminine character.


As I write this I’m reminded that it does take an entire book to cover an ethical topic of this breadth. But comforted slightly that once the breadth is understood as a system, it is possible to reduce it to a compact set of rules or laws, and therefore, both fitting the criteria of explanatory power, and the requirement that society consist of very simple, basic rules, comprehensible to anyone.

And since propertarianism is the codification of instinctual biology in verbal form using property as the means of commensurability, then it is both possible for humans to universally sense, perceive, and comprehend those simple basic additions – additions which in effect, ask us to extend and warrantee all exchanges, verbal and material, to all human beings, as if they were members of our traditional family.

And as such, create a family in practice despite what are a multitude of families with different preferences, needs, means and ends.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev 2013


Leave a Reply