Private property

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It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common. ~ Basil of Caesarea

Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective (or cooperative) property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities. Private property is further distinguished from personal property, which refers to property for personal use and consumption. Private property is a legal concept defined and enforced by a country's political system.

The laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests. ~ John Stuart Mill
Theft is only punished because it violates the right of property; but this right is itself nothing in origin but theft. ~ Donatien Alphonse François de Sade
The abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry. ~ Friedrich Engels
Whatever an author puts between the two covers of his book is public property; whatever of himself he does not put there is his private property, as much as if he had never written a word. ~ Mary Abigail Dodge

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

A[edit]

  • We live in a system described in obsolete terms. We have come to believe our own repeated declarations that our society is based on individual initiative – whereas, in fact, most of it is no more individual than an infantry division. We assume that our economic system is based on “private property.” Yet most industrial property is is no more private than a seat in a subway train, and indeed it is questionable whether much of it can be called “property” at all. We indignantly deny that we are collectivist, yet it is demonstrable that more than two-thirds of our enterprise is possible only because it is collectivist: what is really meant is that the State did not do the collectivizing.

B[edit]

  • Καὶ ποῖον, λέγει, ἀδικῶ, μὲ τὸ νὰ κρατῶ γιὰ τoν ἐαυτόν μου αὐτὰ ποῦ μου ἀνήκουν; Ποία, εἰπέ μου, εἶναι αὐτὰ ποῦ σου ἀνήκουν; Ἀπὸ ποῦ τὰ ἔλαβες, καὶ τὰ ἔφερες στὴν ζωὴν αὐτήν; Ὅπως ἀκριβῶς κάποιος ποὺ εὑρίσκει στὸ θέατρο θέση μὲ καλὴν θέαν, ἐμποδίζει ἔπειτα τοὺς εἰσερχομένους, θεωρώντας ὡς ἰδικὸ τοῦ αὐτὸ ποὺ προορίζεται γιὰ χρῆσιν κοινήν, ἔτσι εἶναι καὶ οἱ πλούσιοι. Ἀφοῦ ἐκυρίευσαν ἐκ τῶν προτέρων τα κοινὰ ἀγαθά, τὰ ἰδιοποιοῦνται ἁπλῶς ἐπειδὴ τὰ ἐπρόλαβαν. Ἐὰν ὁ καθένας ἐκρατοῦσε ἐκεῖνο ποὺ ἀρκεῖ γιὰ τὴν ἱκανοποίηση τῶν ἀναγκῶν του, καὶ ἄφηνε τὸ περίσσευμα σ’ αὐτὸν ποὺ τὸ χρειάζεται, κανεὶς δὲν θὰ ἦταν πλούσιος, ἀλλὰ καὶ κανεὶς πτωχός.
    • 'But whom do I treat unjustly,' you say, 'by keeping what is my own?' Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.
      • Basil of Caesarea, I Will Tear Down My Barns, as translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 69

D[edit]

  • Whatever an author puts between the two covers of his book is public property; whatever of himself he does not put there is his private property, as much as if he had never written a word.
    • Mary Abigail Dodge, Country Living and Country Thinking, Preface, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

E[edit]

  • Since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement – in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.
  • The abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry – and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand.
  • Every change in the social order, every revolution in property relations, is the necessary consequence of the creation of new forces of production which no longer fit into the old property relations. Private property has not always existed. When, towards the end of the Middle Ages, there arose a new mode of production which could not be carried on under the then existing feudal and guild forms of property, this manufacture, which had outgrown the old property relations, created a new property form, private property. And for manufacture and the earliest stage of development of big industry, private property was the only possible property form; the social order based on it was the only possible social order.
  • Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat.
  • When all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord.
  • What will be the consequences of the ultimate disappearance of private property? Society will take all forces of production and means of commerce, as well as the exchange and distribution of products, out of the hands of private capitalists and will manage them in accordance with a plan based on the availability of resources and the needs of the whole society. In this way, most important of all, the evil consequences which are now associated with the conduct of big industry will be abolished. There will be no more crises; the expanded production, which for the present order of society is overproduction and hence a prevailing cause of misery, will then be insufficient and in need of being expanded much further. Instead of generating misery, overproduction will reach beyond the elementary requirements of society to assure the satisfaction of the needs of all; it will create new needs and, at the same time, the means of satisfying them. It will become the condition of, and the stimulus to, new progress, which will no longer throw the whole social order into confusion, as progress has always done in the past.
  • The general co-operation of all members of society for the purpose of planned exploitation of the forces of production, the expansion of production to the point where it will satisfy the needs of all, the abolition of a situation in which the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of the needs of others, the complete liquidation of classes and their conflicts, the rounded development of the capacities of all members of society through the elimination of the present division of labor, through industrial education, through engaging in varying activities, through the participation by all in the enjoyments produced by all, through the combination of city and country – these are the main consequences of the abolition of private property.

F[edit]

  • Private property… is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing, its contributors therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered a Benefit on the Public, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honor and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or as payment for a just Debt.
    • Benjamin Franklin, Queries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1789.

H[edit]

  • We National Socialists see in private property a higher level of human economic development that according to the differences in performance controls the management of what has been accomplished enabling and guaranteeing the advantage of a higher standard of living for everyone. Bolshevism destroys not only private property but also private initiative and the readiness to shoulder responsibility. It has not been able to save millions of human beings from starvation in Russia, the greatest Agrarian State in the world

M[edit]

  • But to make the comparison applicable, we must compare Communism at its best, with the regime of individual property, not as it is, but as it might be made. ... The laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests.

P[edit]

  • In Western Europe since Roman times, private property was considered sacrosanct. The principle enunciated by the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca that kings rule by the will of the people became fundamental to Western civilization, together with private property, which was the main source of productive wealth.
    • Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom: The Inseparable Connection, speech at an “Evenings at FEE” event, October 2004. [1]
  • We need to keep a very keen eye on our own government. It's getting too rich and redistributing wealth is a sure way of robbing us of our private property rights and other rights along with them.
    • Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom: The Inseparable Connection, speech at an “Evenings at FEE” event, October 2004. [2]

Q[edit]

  • Tenure of property is more of a duty than an actual right of possession. Property in the widest sense is a right that can belong only to society, which in turn receives it as a trust from Allah who is the only true owner of anything. ...
    There can be no real place for personal possession unless it carries with it the rights of disposal and use. The condition on which this right must stand is that of wisdom in the disposal; if the disposal of property is foolish, then the ruler or society may withdraw this right of disposal. ...
    The right of disposal depends on being mature and being able to fulfill one's duties; when the possessor does not meet these requirements, then the natural fruits of ownership come to an end.
  • Sayyid Qutb, Social Justice in Islam (1953), pp. 132-133

S[edit]

T[edit]

W[edit]

  • Societies with private property are often described as free societies. Part of what this means is surely that owners are free to use their property as they please; they are not bound by social or political decisions. ... But ... it would be equally apposite to describe private property as a system of unfreedom, since it necessarily involves the social exclusion of people from resources that others own. All property systems distribute freedoms and unfreedoms; no system of property can be described without qualification as a system of liberty. Someone may respond that the liberty to use what belongs to another is license not liberty, and so its exclusion should not really count against a private property system in the libertarian calculus. But the price of this maneuver is very high: not only does it commit the libertarian to a moralized conception of freedom of the sort that he usually shies away from (as in case of positive liberty), but it also means that liberty, so defined, can no longer be invoked to support property except in a question-begging way.
  • Private property … has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is.

Y[edit]

  • In the early days, the common purse at Jerusalem was not the outworking of the deliberation about whether it is good for disciples to have possessions of their own, and certainly it involved no speculation as to whether it is wholesome for society to be governed by a regime of private property. Sharing together was much more immediate and unpremeditated; they shared their wealth because they ate together and because food for the morrow is about all the wealth a common person can ever hope to possess in any simple society.
    • John Howard Yoder, Revolutionary Christianity: The 1966 South American Lectures, p. 25

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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