Justin Schwartz jkschw at
Tue Oct 24 07:43:59 PDT 2000

Virtually no lestists advocate complete abolition of private property. Marx himself carefully distinguishes between collective ownership of productive assets and individual ownership of personal property. No communist wants to take away your TV or make you share your underwear. In fact, no one wants to share your underwear.

Matt's argument does not work against collective ownership of productive assets. Scarcity just requires rules to deal with it. Private ownership provides one set of rules, or one set of sets of rules, but collective ownership offers others. Think of the public library. The books in it are limited. so scarce, but they are collectively owned by us all. You do not own a public library book taht you take out more than any other taxpayer does, you just use it for a period, then return it. This might be a model of ownership of other things as well, including productive assets.


>From: Matt Cramer <cramer at>
>Reply-To: lbo-talk at
>To: lbo-talk at
>Subject: Re: Survivor!
>Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 08:51:25 -0400 (EDT)
>On Mon, 23 Oct 2000, Miles Jackson wrote:
> > The belief in the sovereign individual
> > who owns stuff is, if I may be dramatic, the psychological lynchpin of
> > a capitalistic economic system that systematically transfers wealth
> > from the workers to the elite.
>Please bear with me for a moment. Complete abolishment of private
>property? That is desireable?
>My problem here is that in a world of limited resources, you CAN'T
>completely abolish private property. Until we reach a point of
>technological advance where we have unlimited energy and resources, there
>are always going to be people who, through luck or force, control those
>Private property is liberty in the sense that there is a certain type of
>property which people honour without the threat of force behind it
>(ignoring the truly criminal element, which are a different problem).
>Private property is theft in the sense that the property is only honoured
>with the threat of force (of a state) behind it.
>Much misery is caused by confusing these two types of properties.
>Objectivists confuse the latter with the former, and I'm afraid many
>leftists confuse the former with the latter.
>Matt Cramer <cramer at>
>That to live by one man's will became the cause
>of all men's misery.
> -Richard Hooker

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