Private Property, Limited Government, Freedom and Capitalism. By James DeCosemo
Private property can be interpreted in different ways. It can mean the dominion that one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual. In its larger meaning, it embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right. The former definition would be that private property includes a man’s land, merchandise and money. Nowadays, however, it can include his opinions and the free communication of those opinions (Madison, 2007). Throughout history, the normal condition of mankind has been that of severe poverty People would have low life expectations, periodic famines, low productivity and an absence of property rights. It is only in more recent times that large numbers of people have been able to live in relative comfort defined by personal property rights. The advancement of property rights is the history of human progress; it has spurred economic change for the masses. This could have started with John Locke’s two treatise of government in which the ruling classes were shocked by his assertion that government has no other end but preservation of property. Locke believed by consenting to social contracts a government would be created that protects its citizens and their property. He believed that it should be limited in scope and subject to removal if it strayed from the tenets of the law. Property rights are protected in free economies by some form of a constitution or bill of rights. The fifth and the 14th amendments to the US constitution provide for the protection of private property. In Economics: public and private choice, Gwartney and ...