0n Property (when original appropriation solves a problem)

The term ‘property rights’ is used to refer to a bundle of rights that could include rights to sell, lend, bequeath, and so on. In what follows, I use the phrase to refer primarily to the right of owners to exclude nonowners. Private owners have the right to exclude nonowners, but the right to exclude is a feature of property rights in general rather than the defining feature of private ownership in particular. This essay does not settle which kind or which mix of public and private property institutions is best. Instead, it asks how we could justify any institution that recognizes a right to exclude. 


Published in: Social Philosophy and Policy
1994 11 Pages 42-62
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