Property? – It Wasn't Scarcity. 🙂

Curt Doolittle : so you agree with Tucker here? (Jeffrey Tucker AMA Hosted by Mike Shanklin)

[W]ell, I think the scarcity-as-primary cause has been replaced with an evolutionary spectrum. The evidence now appears that:

(a) Property evolved for preventing free riding during cooperation (along with mating – we dont’ know which was first – cooperation or pairing off, but it looks like cooperation was first.)
(b) Language evolved to control mating (pairing off conditional monogamy – mates as property)
(c) Property matured to facilitate the retention of goods and tools.
(d) Property matured to facilitate capture of livestock.
(e) Property matured to facilitate inheritance in families
(f) Property matured to facilitate the division of labor.
(g) Property evolved as a means of forming cooperative networks and positive expression of legal rules.

As far as I can tell, it is the prevention of free riding needed to maintain incentives to produce that was the source of the evolution of property.

As far as I can tell, it is probably more accurate to say that scarcity forced retention of redistribution within family and tribe, it did not cause the evolution of property. The hard problem that only Northern Europeans have solved, is to suppress redistribution in the tribe and family.

I won’t address the evolution of shared intentionality and cooperation here. Too may different paths. But either way I think this is the correct evolution.

I don’t think this is a meaningful revision of libertarian theory. It’s a correction. But the order of development doesn’t change the importance of property rights for the purpose of incentives, calculation, and dispute resolution.

But it does reinforce my argument that the purpose of property is the prevention of free riding necessary for cooperation. So that property evolved a positive expression of the negative prohibition. Not as a good in itself in response to scarcity.

In fact, I am pretty confident that the scarcity argument is a CROSS-GROUP problem not an in-group problem. (Again, this is why ghetto ethics were a failure – wrong problem. In group evolved prior to out-group.)

[A]ctually, now that I think about it, this is a good example of why crusoe ethics are a mistaken distraction (another ghetto-ethics error) because the evolution of cooperation and property did not occur in the island-as-analogy-to-walled-ghetto, but among an extended family conducting pervasive redistribution.

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