Communal Property

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Research Paper

* Communal Property: A Libertarian Analysis. By Kevin Carson. C4SS, 2012.

URL = http://c4ss.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Communal-Property.pdf

"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.” (http://c4ss.org/content/9805)


Excerpts

Roderick Long, Common property, he says, can come about through collective homesteading:

"Consider a village near a lake. It is common for the villagers to walk down to the lake to go fishing. In the early days of the community it's hard to get to the lake because of all the bushes and fallen branches in the way. But over time, the way is cleared and a path forms — not through any centrally coordinated effort, but simply as a result of all the individuals walking that way day after day.

The cleared path is the product of labor — not any individual's labor, but all of them together. If one villager decided to take advantage of the now-created path by setting up a gate and charging tolls, he would be violating the collective property right that the villagers together have earned.

Since collectives, like individuals, can mix their labor with unowned resources to make those resources more useful to their purposes, collectives, too can claim property rights by homestead." (http://c4ss.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Communal-Property.pdf)


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