Why Do Property Rights “Work”?

[P]roperty rights ‘work’ because they establish a monopoly of control over fragments of the physical world, and without that monopoly of control it’s impossible to both plan their use and possess the incentive to act in accordance with plan.

All creatures demonstrate some concept of possession or property. (See Butler Schaeffer).

Without property rights, a voluntarily organized division of labor is not possible. The degree of the division of labor (atomicity) is determined by the atomicity of property rights. The atomicity of property rights must compete with the reproductive structure of the family. So that is why different family structures use different moral codes – largely dependent upon the method of assigning land in agrarian societies. Our moral code is an agrarian moral code.

The conflict in ethics has been exacerbated by increases in population with conflicting moral codes, and the rapid decline since 1890 in the productivity of unskilled labor.

[S]o while populations are increasing, the number of people engaged in productive work isn’t necessarily doing so. Most people today are filling in ‘holes’ where production has lagged because of communism. But in the developed world, we have more people than we have work for. And without the credit that we can currently easily manufacture, we will contract father.

This trend has no chance of abating. Just the opposite.

So, under this form of production, given this distribution of abilities, given the distribution of family structures, then what is the moral and ethical basis of society?

I have tried to answer this problem. I think I have. But there is no way to be sure other than to test it.

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