Homestead principle


The homestead principle is the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation. Appropriation could be enacted by putting an unowned resource to active use (as with using it to produce a product), joining it with previously acquired property or by marking it as owned (as with livestock branding). Proponents of intellectual property hold that ideas can also be homesteaded by originally creating a virtual or tangible representation of them. Others however argue that since tangible manifestations of a single idea will be present in many places, including within the minds of people, this precludes their being owned in most or all cases. Homesteading is one of the foundations of Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism.

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Under the homestead principle a farmer putting unowned land to use gains ownership over it.

In philosophy

John Locke

Enlightenment philosopher John Locke in his work Second Treatise of Government, published in 1690 advocated the Lockean proviso, which allows for homesteading. Locke famously sees the "mixing of labour" with land as the source of ownership via homesteading. He writes:

Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.[1]

However, Locke held that individuals have a right to homestead private property from nature only so long as "there is enough, and as good, left in common for others".[2] The Lockean proviso maintains that appropriation of unowned resources is a diminution of the rights of others to it, and would only be acceptable if it does not make anyone else worse off.

Murray Rothbard

Libertarian philosopher and Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard argues that homesteading includes all the rights needed to engage in the homesteading action, including nuisance and pollution rights. He writes:

Most of us think of homesteading unused resources in the old-fashioned sense of clearing a piece of unowned land and farming the soil. … Suppose, for example, that an airport is established with a great deal of empty land around it. The airport exudes a noise level of, say, X decibels, with the sound waves traveling over the empty land. A housing development then buys land near the airport. Some time later, the homeowners sue the airport for excessive noise interfering with the use and quiet enjoyment of the houses.

Excessive noise can be considered a form of aggression but in this case the airport has already homesteaded X decibels worth of noise. By its prior claim, the airport now "owns the right" to emit X decibels of noise in the surrounding area. In legal terms, we can then say that the airport, through homesteading, has earned an easement right to creating X decibels of noise. This homesteaded easement is an example of the ancient legal concept of "prescription," in which a certain activity earns a prescriptive property right to the person engaging in the action.[3]

Rothbard interprets the physical extent to which a homesteading act establishes ownership in terms of the relevant "technological unit", which is the minimal amount necessary for the practical use of the resource. He writes:

If A uses a certain amount of a resource, how much of that resource is to accrue to his ownership? Our answer is that he owns the technological unit of the resource. The size of that unit depends on the type of good or resource in question, and must be determined by judges, juries, or arbitrators who are expert in the particular resource or industry in question.[3]

Anthony de Jasay

Hungarian political philosopher Anthony de Jasay argued that a homesteader, having a claim prior to any other, must be prima facie considered the owner of the resource, in accordance with the principle "let ownership stand". He writes:

[if] taking first possession of a thing is a feasible act of his that is admissible if it is not a tort (in this case not trespass) and violates no right; but this is the case by definition, i.e., by the thing being identified as “unowned.” Taking exclusive possession of it is, in terms of our classification of possible acts, a liberty, and as such only a contrary right can obstruct or oppose it. 14 The opponent of this simple thesis is trying to have it both ways: he is both asserting that the thing has no legitimate first owner from whom a second or nth owner could have legitimately obtained it by agreed transfer, and that there is nevertheless somebody who has been and still is entitled to use the thing and therefore can validly object to being excluded from it. But an entitlement to use the thing is an at least partial antecedent ownership claim needing an owner, or the permission of an owner, before it can be made; ownership cannot both exist yet not exist. If, on the other hand, the objectors have been using the thing without being entitled to it, because no third party had excluded them by taking first possession, and because they were unable, unwilling, or uninterested to perform the act of taking first possession themselves (whatever that act may consist of), their enjoyment of the thing was precarious, not vested. Its appropriation by a third party may have deprived them of an uncovenanted advantage, but it did not violate their rights.[4]

Hans Hermann Hoppe

Similarly to de-Jasay, Hans Hermann Hoppe argues that the denial of the homesteading rule entails a performative contradiction. That is because honest argumentation must presuppose an intersubjectively ascertainable norm (i.e. justifiable), and all norms not relying on the original establishment of a physical (and therefore evident) link to the owner are subjective in nature, and therefore contradict the presuppositions of argumentation. He writes:

Further, if one were not allowed to appropriate other resources through homesteading action, i.e., by putting them to use before anybody else does, or if the range of objects to be homesteaded were somehow limited, this would only be possible if ownership could be acquired by mere decree instead of by action. However, this does not qualify as a solution to the problem of ethics, i.e., of conflict-avoidance, even on purely technical grounds, for it would not allow one to decide what to do if such declarative claims happened to be incompatible. More decisive still, it would be incompatible with the already justified self-ownership, for if one could appropriate resources by decree, this would imply that one could also declare another person’s body to be one’s own. Thus, anyone denying the validity of the homesteading principle—whose recognition is already implicit in arguing two persons’ mutual respect for each other’s exclusive control over his own body—would contradict the content of his proposition through his very act of proposition making.[5]

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand has not elaborated on the characteristics of homesteading, but had expressed support for compatible laws, such as favourably citing the Homestead Act (1862). She writes:

A notable example of the proper method of establishing private ownership from scratch, in a previously ownerless area, is the Homestead Act of 1862, by which the government opened the Western frontier for settlement and turned "public land" over to private owners. The government offered a 160-acres farm to any adult citizen who would settle on it and cultivate it for five years, after which it would become his property. Although that land was originally regarded, in law, as "public property," the method of its allocation, in fact, followed the proper principle (in fact, but not in explicit ideological intention). The citizens did not have to pay the government as if it were an owner; ownership began with them, and they earned it by the method which is the source and root of the concept of "property": by working on unused material resources, by turning a wilderness into a civilized settlement. Thus, the government, in this case, was acting not as the owner but as the custodian of ownerless resources who defines objectively impartial rules by which potential owners may acquire them.[6]

Linda and Morris Tannehill

Linda and Morris Tannehill argue in The Market for Liberty that physically claiming the land (e.g. by fencing it in or prominently staking it out) should be enough to obtain good title:

An old and much respected theory holds that for a man to come into possession of a previously unowned value it is necessary for him to "mix his labor with the land" to make it his own. But this theory runs into difficulties when one attempts to explain what is meant by "mixing labor with land." Just how much labor is required, and of what sort? If a man digs a large hole in his land and then fills it up again, can he be said to have mixed his labor with the land? Or is it necessary to effect a somewhat permanent change in the land? If so, how permanent?...Or is it necessary to effect some improvement in the economic value of the land? If so, how much and how soon?...Would a man lose title to his land if he had to wait ten months for a railroad line to be built before he could improve the land?...And what of the naturalist who wanted to keep his land exactly as it was in its wild state to study its ecology?...[M]ixing one's labor with the land is too ill-defined a concept and too arbitrary a requirement to serve as a criterion of ownership.[7]

In law

Common law

Earth-crust-cutaway-english
Under the ad coelum doctrine land ownership extends in a cone from the earth's core up to the exosphere.

Common law provides the ad coelum doctrine by which landlords own everything below and above the land, up to the sky and below the earth to its core, with the exception of volatile minerals such as natural gas. The rules governing what constitutes homesteading were not specified by common law but by the local statutory law. Common law also recognizes the concept of adverse possession ("squatters' rights").[8] Rothbard criticized this doctrine as incompatible with his own homestead principle, as a literal application prevent aircraft from traveling over someone's land. Further:

But is the practical problem of aviation the only thing wrong with the ad coelum rule? Using the homesteading principle, the ad coelum rule never made any sense, and is therefore overdue in the dustbin of legal history. If one homesteads and uses the soil, in what sense is he also using all the sky above him up into heaven? Clearly, he isn't.[9]

So long as the aircraft did not damage or disturb the land, the owner would not have a claim. By the same principle, ownership of mineral and water resources on or under the land would also require homesteading, otherwise being left unowned.

Statutory law

In the 19th century, a number of governments formalized the homestead principle by passing laws that would grant property of land plots of certain standardized size to people who would settle on it and "improve" it in certain ways (typically, built their residence and started to farm at least a certain fraction of the land). Typically, such laws would apply to territories recently taken from their indigenous inhabitants, and which the state would want to have populated by farmers. Examples:

See also

References

  1. ^ Locke, John (1689). The Two Treatises of Government, Bk II, Chap 25, Sect 27. London: A. Millar, et al. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ Second Treatise of Government, Chapter V, paragraph 33
  3. ^ a b Rothbard, Murray N. (1997). Applications and criticism from the Austrian school. Cheltenham [u.a.]: Elgar. ISBN 1-85898-570-6.
  4. ^ DeJasay, Anthony (1997). Against politics : on government, anarchy, and order (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 0-415-17067-2.
  5. ^ Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (2006). The economics and ethics of private property : studies in political economy and philosophy (PDF) (2nd ed.). Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 199. ISBN 0-945466-40-4.
  6. ^ Rand, Ayn (1964). "The Property Status of Airwaves". The Objectivist Newsletter. 3.
  7. ^ Tannehill, Linda and Morris. The Market for Liberty. pp. 57–58.
  8. ^ http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/homesteading West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2.
  9. ^ Rothbard, Murray (1982). "Law, Property Rights and Air Pollution" (PDF). Cato Journal. 2 (1).

External links

Agorism

Agorism is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III (1947–2004) at two conferences, CounterCon I in October 1974 and CounterCon II in May 1975.

Anti-authoritarianism

Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as "a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority", "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and to authoritarian government. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including the state system.

Civil libertarianism

Civil libertarianism is a strain of political thought that supports civil liberties, or which emphasizes the supremacy of individual rights and personal freedoms over and against any kind of authority (such as a state, a corporation, social norms imposed through peer pressure and so on). Civil libertarianism is not a complete ideology—rather, it is a collection of views on the specific issues of civil liberties and civil rights.

Consequentialist libertarianism

Consequentialist libertarianism (also known as libertarian consequentialism or consequentialist liberalism, in Europe) refers to the libertarian position that is supportive of a free market and strong private property rights only on the grounds that they bring about favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency.

Free-market anarchism

Free-market anarchism, or market anarchism, includes several branches of anarchism that advocate an economic system based on voluntary market interactions without the involvement of the state. A branch of market anarchism is left-wing market anarchism such as mutualists or Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and self identify as part of the socialist movement.On the other hand, people who identify as anarcho-capitalists stress the legitimacy and priority of private property, describing it as an integral component of individual rights and a free market economy. There is a strong current within anarchism which does not consider that anarcho-capitalism can be considered a part of the anarchist movement because anarchism has historically been an anti-capitalist movement and for definitional reasons which see anarchism incompatible with capitalist forms. Thus, the term may be used to refer to diverse economic and political concepts, such as those proposed by anarchist libertarian socialists like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Benjamin Tucker or alternatively anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard and David D. Friedman.

Geolibertarianism

Geolibertarianism is a political and economic ideology that integrates libertarianism with Georgism (alternatively geoism or geonomics), most often associated with left-libertarianism or the radical center.Geolibertarians hold that geographical space and raw natural resources—any assets that qualify as land by economic definition—are rivalrous goods to be considered common property or more accurately unowned, which all individuals share an equal human right to access, not capital wealth to be privatized fully and absolutely. Therefore, landholders must pay compensation according to the rental value decided by the free market, absent any improvements, to the community for the civil right of usufruct (that is, legally recognized exclusive possession with restrictions on property abuse) or otherwise fee simple title with no such restrictions. Ideally, the taxing of a site would be administered only after it has been determined that the privately captured economic rent from the land exceeds the title-holder's equal share of total land value in the jurisdiction. On this proposal, rent is collected not for the mere occupancy or use of land as neither the community nor the state rightfully owns the commons, but rather as an objectively assessed indemnity due for the legal right to exclude others from that land. Some geolibertarians also support Pigovian taxes on pollution and severance taxes to regulate natural resource depletion and compensatory fees with ancillary positive environmental effects on activities which negatively impact land values. They endorse the standard right-libertarian view that each individual is naturally entitled to the fruits of their labor as exclusive private property as opposed to produced goods being owned collectively by society or by the government acting to represent society, and that a person's "labor, wages, and the products of labor" should not be taxed. Along with non-Georgists in the libertarian movement, they also support law of equal liberty, advocating "full civil liberties, with no crimes unless there are victims who have been invaded".Geolibertarians are generally influenced by the Georgist single tax movement of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, but the ideas behind it pre-date Henry George and can be found in different forms in the writings of John Locke, the English True Levellers or Diggers such as Gerrard Winstanley, the French Physiocrats (particularly Quesnay and Turgot), Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say, Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Thomas Spence. Prominent geolibertarians since George have included Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov and Milton Friedman(on consequentialist grounds). Other libertarians who have expressed support for the land value tax as an incremental reform include John Hospers, Karl Hess and United States Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan.

Homestead (buildings)

A homestead is a dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.In North America the word "homestead" historically referred to land claimed by a settler or squatter under the Homestead Act (USA) or Dominion Lands Act (Canada). In Old English the term was used to mean a human settlement, and in Southern Africa the term is used for a cluster of several houses normally occupied by a single extended family.

Homestead Acts

The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain, typically called a "homestead.” In all, more than 160 million acres (0.65 million km2) of public land, or nearly 10% of the total area of the U.S., was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders; most of the homesteads were west of the Mississippi River.

An extension of the Homestead Principle in law, the Homestead Acts were an expression of the "Free Soil" policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms, as opposed to Southern slave-owners who wanted to buy up large tracts of land and use slave labor, thereby shutting out free white farmers.

The first of the acts, the Homestead Act of 1862, opened up millions of acres. Any adult who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government could apply. Women and immigrants who had applied for citizenship were eligible. The 1866 Act explicitly included black Americans and encouraged them to participate, but rampant discrimination slowed black gains. Historian Michael Lanza argues that while the 1866 law pack was not as beneficial as it might have been, it was part of the reason that by 1900 one fourth of all Southern black farmers owned their own farms.Several additional laws were enacted in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 sought to address land ownership inequalities in the south during Reconstruction. The Timber Culture Act of 1873 granted land to a claimant who was required to plant trees—the tract could be added to an existing homestead claim and had no residency requirement. The Kinkaid Amendment of 1904 granted a full section (640 acres) to new homesteaders settling in western Nebraska. An amendment to the Homestead Act of 1862, the Enlarged Homestead Act, was passed in 1909 and doubled the allotted acreage from 160 to 320 acres. Another amended act, the national Stock-Raising Homestead Act, was passed in 1916 and again increased the land involved, this time to 640 acres.

International Alliance of Libertarian Parties

The International Alliance of Libertarian Parties (IALP) is an alliance of right-libertarian political parties across the world. Its mission is to promote libertarian politics internationally. The IALP has 21 members as of 2018.At the 2014 Libertarian National Convention in the United States, former chairman of the Libertarian National Committee Geoff Neale was appointed to help with the creation of an alliance of global Libertarian parties. On March 6, 2015 the IALP was formed with 9 founding members.

Labor theory of property

The labor theory of property (also called the labor theory of appropriation, labor theory of ownership, labor theory of entitlement, or principle of first appropriation) is a theory of natural law that holds that property originally comes about by the exertion of labor upon natural resources. The theory has been used to justify the homestead principle, which holds that one may gain whole permanent ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation.

In his Second Treatise on Government, the philosopher John Locke asked by what right an individual can claim to own one part of the world, when, according to the Bible, God gave the world to all humanity in common. He answered that persons own themselves and therefore their own labor. When a person works, that labor enters into the object. Thus, the object becomes the property of that person.

However, Locke held that one may only appropriate property in this fashion if the Lockean proviso held true, that is, "... there is enough, and as good, left in common for others".

Libertarian conservatism

Libertarian conservatism or conservative libertarianism is a political philosophy and ideology that combines right-libertarian politics and conservative values. Libertarian conservatism advocates the greatest possible economic liberty and the least possible government regulation of social life, mirroring laissez-faire minarchist classical liberalism, but harnesses this to a belief in a more traditional and conservative social philosophy emphasizing authority and duty. Libertarian conservatism prioritizes liberty as its main emphasis, promoting free expression, freedom of choice and laissez-faire capitalism to achieve socially and culturally conservative ends as they reject liberal social engineering, or in the opposite way but not excluding the above, libertarian conservatism could be understood as promoting civil society through conservative institutions and authority - as family, fatherland, religion, education - in the quest of libertarian ends for less state power.

Neo-libertarianism

Neo-libertarianism is a political and social philosophy that is a combination of libertarian principles with modern liberal principles.

Night-watchman state

In libertarian political philosophy, a night-watchman state is a model of a state whose only functions are to provide its citizens with the military, the police and courts, thus protecting them from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud and enforcing property laws. The nineteenth-century UK has been described by historian Charles Townshend as standard-bearer of this form of government among Western countries.

Outline of libertarianism

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to libertarianism, a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Thus, libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

Paleolibertarianism

Paleolibertarianism is a variety of libertarianism developed by anarcho-capitalist theorists Murray Rothbard and Llewellyn Rockwell that combines conservative cultural values and social philosophy with a libertarian opposition to government intervention.

Polycentric law

Polycentric law is a legal structure in which providers of legal systems compete or overlap in a given jurisdiction, as opposed to monopolistic statutory law according to which there is a sole provider of law for each jurisdiction. Devolution of this monopoly occurs by the principle of jurisprudence in which they rule according to higher law.

Propertarianism

Propertarianism, or proprietarianism, is a right-libertarian ethical philosophy that advocates the replacement of states with contractual relationships. Propertarian ideals are most commonly cited to advocate for a state or other governance body whose main or only job is to enforce contracts and private property.

Unowned property

Unowned property refers to tangible, physical things which are capable of being reduced to being property owned by an individual, but are not owned by anyone. Nearly every piece of land on the Earth is property and has a maintainer (owner). The class of objects, "unowned things", are objects which are not yet property; either because it has been agreed by sovereign nations that no one can own them, or because no person, or other entity, has made a claim of ownership.

The most common unowned things are asteroids. The UN's Outer Space Treaty does not address the issue of private ownership of natural objects in space. All asteroids remain unowned things until some person or entity makes a claim of property right to one of them.

In an experimental legal case of first impression, a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment was filed in a United States Federal Court to determine the lawful owner of Asteroid 433 Eros. 433 Eros was claimed as property by Gregory W. Nemitz of Orbital Development. According to the homestead principle, Nemitz argued that he had the right to claim ownership of any celestial body that he made use of; he claimed he had designated Eros a spacecraft parking facility and wished to charge NASA a parking and storage fee of twenty cents per year for its NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft that is permanently stored there. Nemitz's case was dismissed due to lack of standing and an appeal denied.

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