Property Rights: Philosophic Foundations, first published in 1977, comprehensively examines the general justifications for systems of private property rights, and discusses with great clarity the major arguments as to the rights and responsibilities of property ownership. In particular, the arguments that hold that there are natural rights derived from first occupancy, labour, utility, liberty and virtue are considered, as are the standard anti-property arguments based on disutility, virtue and inequality, and the belief that justice in distribution must take precedence over private ownership.
Lawrence Becker goes on to contend that there are four sound lines of argument for private property that, together with what is sound in the anti-property arguments, must be co-ordinated to form the foundations of a new theory. He therefore expounds a concise but sophisticated theory of property that is relevant to the modern world, and concludes by indicating some of the implications of his theory.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction 2. Property Rights 3. The Arguments from First Occupancy 4. The Labour Theory of Property Acquisition 5. Arguments from Utility 6. The Argument from Political Liberty 7. Considerations of Moral Character 8. Anti-Property Arguments 9. The Justification of Property Rights; Notes; Index