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The Most Convincing Justification For Private Property

1210 words - 5 pages

The most convincing justification for private property provided by Ziff is that of economic efficiency. Private property incentivises innovation, lowers the cost of dealing with externalities, and with moderation, reduces the susceptibility of property to the tragedy of the commons. Economic efficiency holds particular weight because of the significant amount of today’s societies that rely on a market based system to conduct business, trade and commerce. This system lists private property as one of its founding tenets and therefore heightens the justification’s persuasiveness. It is not suggested that a fully privatised property regime would be ideal either, but a mixture of both private ...view middle of the document...

This allows people to show “individuality and full self expression”, as they are rewarded for their efforts. So it is evident that inherent in the idea of incentivising innovation is the idea that personhood is developed as moral development is encouraged and rewarded. This moral development increases economic efficiency as it provides alternatives to current practises, which may then lead to increased efficiency. To the contrary it is argued that too much private property may over-fragment natural resources to a point where innovation is naturally stifled due to the multiplicity of interest holders – a problem referred to as the tragedy of the anti-commons. This further supports the suggestion that a fully privatised property regime has with it ingrained downfalls that require the use of intervention. It is therefore ideal to have a regime that is both private and communal, as it provides individual opportunities, whilst catering to the community more efficiently.

Similarly, it is shown that private property is the most efficient manner in which the cost of externalities can be dealt with as it reduces both the time and the cost of abatement. It is argued by Ziff that “an increase in the communality of property leads, generally, to an increase in the cost of internalizing” as it requires the engagement of all land holders before addressing change, and requires policing of these changes so as to ensure that they are enforced. This leads to externalities, such as pollution, being dealt with inefficiently as both costs and time are increased. Similarly, Ziff also argues that in the same way, private property reduces the effect of the tragedy of the commons; an issue that arises when common-goods are underprovided for due to multiple interest holders failing to take responsibility for damage to property or externalities created by property. This leads to time consuming negotiations between parties which lowers economic efficiency, through both increasing time and costs. Private property on the other hand allows for more responsive and cost efficient regulation of such issues and in doing so makes the process more economically efficient.

To the contrary Ziff argues that the cost of policing would also be more expensive under a private property regime as the creation of boundaries would add costs that would not have otherwise have existed. Conversely Grafton suggests that the cost of boundary erection is merely temporary, as after the initial set up of boundaries, cost of negotiations and policing are comparatively reduced. Communal property rights contrast this; as they hold long-term economic costs to the interest owners as negotiation costs will continue to increase exponentially, as policing costs are not one off, and...

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