return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 21102

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / c. Property rights]

Full Idea

Reason tells us that there is no property in durable objects, such as land or houses, when carefully examined in passing from hand to hand, but must, in some period, have been founded on fraud and injustice.

Gist of Idea

We all know that the history of property is founded on injustices


David Hume (Of the original contract [1741], p.288)

A Reaction

A prime objection to Nozick, who fantasises about an initial position of just ownership, which can then be the subject of just contracts. In 1866 thousands of white people were granted land in the USA, but not a single black freed slave got anything.

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Selected Essays' [OUP 1996], p.288