Kevin Carson’s thirteenth research paper, “Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis,” argues that the libertarian defense of property doesn’t apply only to fee simple individual property. Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis
Translations for this article:
- Portuguese, Propriedade Comunal: Análise Libertária.
Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis
By Kevin Carson
“The Dominant market anarchist view of property takes for granted individual, fee-simple ownership through individual appropriation as the only natural form of property. Right-wing libertarian and Objectivist forums are full of statements that ‘there’s no such thing as collective property,’ ‘all property rights are individual,” and the like. But as Karl Hess argued, libertarian property can take on a wide variety of legitimate forms. Communal ownership of land is a legitimate and plausible model for property rights in a stateless society based on free association. Historically, the overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that the first appropriation of land for agriculture was almost universally by peasant villages working as a social unit. The village commune and open field system were, almost universally, the dominant property model in societies which, so far in human history, came closest to approximating the libertarian ideal of statelessness and voluntary association: the neolithic village societies between the agricultural revolution and the rise of the state.”
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