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The term Propertarianism has been used to describe various views regarding private property. Those holding positive views on property rights may be described as propertarian. However, others opposed to private property may be described as non-propertarian or anti-propertarian.



Historian Marcus Cunliffe used it in 1973 lectures to apply to "characteristic values of American history" in regard to property.[1][2][3][4] Hans Morgenthau used it in a more limited way to characterize the connection between property and suffrage.[5]

L. Neil Smith describes propertarianism as a positive libertarian philosophy in his novels The Probability Broach (1980) and The American Zone‎ (2002).[6][7]

Ronald Hamowy describes Murray Rothbard's form of libertarianism as "propertarian" because he "reduced all human rights to rights of property, beginning with the natural right of self-ownership."[8] Rothbardian libertarian anarchism or anarcho-capitalism advocate that property only may originate by being the product of labor, and may then only legitimately change hands by trade or gift. They term this as "neo-Lockean".[9] Other libertarians question the self-ownership view on the grounds people can't be property, even of themselves, and that by ignoring the psychological aspects of being, the viewpoint downplays the concept that "liberty defined by self-determination is the control of choice in human life and development."[10]

David Boaz writes that the "propertarian approach to privacy," both morally and legally, has ensured Americans' privacy rights.[11]

Non- or anti-propertarianism

Ursula K. Le Guin used the term in the science fiction novel The Dispossessed (1974) to contrast a society based on property rights in contrast to one which does not recognize them.[12][13] She used it in a negative sense because she believed property objectified human beings. She has been described as an anarcho-communist.[14][15]

Non-propertarians like Murray Bookchin also have been called anti-propertarians. Bookchin described three concepts of possession: property itself, possession, and usufruct, appropriation of resources by virtue of use.[16]

In relation to copyright laws

Non-propertarians and anarchists claim freedom of expression is not possible without abolition of intellectual property laws.[16] The Indymedia experiment" has been described as opposition to "propertarian information control" by anarchist-oriented opponents of "corporativism."[17]

Those with non-propertarian ideas have developed open systems like Linux and alternative methods of musical and other creative distribution.[18]

Libertarians who generally support property rights may be non-propertarian in relation to intellectual property.[19] John Markoff, in What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry contrasts "information propertarians" - who want strict enforcement of copyright law in relation to use of the internet - with "information libertarians" who have a more flexible view of such intellectual property rights.[20] However, his approach has been criticized as being out of date for ending its analysis in the mid-1970s.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Hans Joachim Morgenthau, (Kenneth W. Thompson, Robert John Myers, Editors), Truth and tragedy: a tribute to Hans J. Morgenthau, Transaction Publishers, p. 165, 1984 ISBN 0878558667.
  2. ^ Marcus Cunliffe, The right to property: a theme in American history, Sir George Watson lecture delivered in the University of Leicester, 4 May 1973 Leicester University Press, 1974 ISBN 0718511298, 9780718511296
  3. ^ Rob Kroes, Them and us: questions of citizenship in a globalizing world, University of Illinois Press, p. 208, 2000 ISBN 0252069099
  4. ^ Marcus Cunliffe, In search of America: transatlantic essays, 1951-1990, p. 307, 1991.
  5. ^ Hans Morgenthua, p. 174.
  6. ^ L. Neil Smith, The American Zone‎, p. 167, 2002.
  7. ^ John J. Pierce, When world views collide: a study in imagination and evolution, p. 163, 1989.
  8. ^ Ronald Hamowy , The encyclopedia of libertarianism, SAGE, p. 442, 2008 ISBN 1412965802
  9. ^ Verhaegh, Marcus (2006). "Rothbard as a Political Philosopher". Journal of Libertarian Studies 20 (4): 3.  
  10. ^ Sharon Presley and Robert Cooke , he Right to Abortion: A Libertarian Defense, paper published by Association of Libertarian Feminists, newsletter, 1979.
  11. ^ David Boaz, Cato Institute, Toward liberty: the idea that is changing the world : 25 years of public policy from the Cato Institute, Cato Institute, p. 386, 2002 ISBN 1930865279
  12. ^ Ursela K. Le Guin, The dispossessed: a novel, HarperCollins, various pages, 2003 ISBN 006051275X
  13. ^ John P. Reeder, Source, sanction, and salvation: religion and morality in Judaic and Christian traditions, p. 113, 1988. Reeder uses phrase "nonpropertarian" to describe Le Guin's views.
  14. ^ Laurence Davis, Peter G. Stillman, The new utopian politics of Ursula K. Le Guin's The dispossessed‎, Lexington Books, p. xvii, 2005.
  15. ^ On Triton and Other Matters: An Interview with Samuel R. Delany, Science Fiction Studies, November 1990.
  16. ^ a b Ellie Clement and Charles Oppenheim, Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leics Great Britain, Anarchism, Alternative Publishers and Copyright, Journal of Anarchist Studies, undated.
  17. ^ Marc Garcelon, "The `Indymedia' Experiment: The Internet as Movement Facilitator Against Institutional Control", in "Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies," Vol. 12, No. 1, 55-82 (2006)
  18. ^ Chris Atton, An alternative Internet, Edinburgh University Press, p. 102-107 2004 ISBN 0748617701
  19. ^ Kinsella, Stephan, Against Intellectual Property, Journal of Libertarian Studies 15.2 (Spring 2001): 1-53.
  20. ^ Ian Garrick Mason, Turn on, tune in, log on; The PC and the Internet sprang from pot-smoking, acid-dropping California dreamers, book review, San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 2005.
  21. ^ Vaughan Black, Review of What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 4, No. 3.


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