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.
Locke argued in support of individual property rights as natural rights. Following the argument the fruits of one's labor are one's own because one worked for it. Furthermore, the laborer must also hold a natural property right in the resource itself because — as Locke believes — exclusive ownership was immediately necessary for production.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau later criticized this second step in Discourse on Inequality, where he effectively argues that the natural right argument does not extend to resources that one did not create. Both philosophers hold that the relation between labor and ownership pertains only to property that was unowned before such labor took place.
Land in its original state would be considered unowned by anyone, but if an individual applied his labor to the land by farming it, for example, it becomes his property. Merely placing a fence around land rather than using the land enclosed would not bring property into being according to most natural law theorists.
If Columbus lands on a new continent, is it legitimate for him to proclaim all the new continent his own, or even that sector 'as far as his eye can see'? Clearly, this would not be the case in the free society that we are postulating. Columbus or Crusoe would have to use the land, to 'cultivate' it in some way, before he could be asserted to own it.... If there is more land than can be used by a limited labor supply, then the unused land must simply remain unowned until a first user arrives on the scene. Any attempt to claim a new resource that someone does not use would have to be considered invasive of the property right of whoever the first user will turn out to be.
The labor theory of property does not only apply to land itself, but to any application of labor to nature. For example, natural-rightist Lysander Spooner, says that an apple taken from an unowned tree would become the property of the person who plucked it, as he has labored to acquire it. He says the "only way, in which ["the wealth of nature"] can be made useful to mankind, is by their taking possession of it individually, and thus making it private property."
However, some, such as Benjamin Tucker have not seen this as creating property in all things. Tucker argued that "in the case of land, or of any other material the supply of which is so limited that all cannot hold it in unlimited quantities," these should only be considered owned while the individual is in the act of using or occupying these things. This is a rejection of Absentee ownership for land.
Locke held that individuals have a right to homestead private property from nature by working on it, but that they can do so only "...at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others". The proviso maintains that appropriation of unowned resources is a diminution of the rights of others to it, and would be acceptable only so long as it does not make anyone worse off than they would have been before. The phrase "Lockean Proviso" was coined by political philosopher Robert Nozick, and is based on the ideas elaborated by John Locke in his Second Treatise of Government.
Aside from critiques of natural rights as a whole, Locke's labor theory of property has been singled out for critique by modern academics who doubt the idea that mixing something owned with something unowned could imbue the object with ownership:
[W]hy isn't mixing what I own with what I don't own a way of losing what I own rather than a way of gaining what I don't? If I own a can of tomato juice and spill it in the sea so that its molecules (made radioactive, so I can check this) mingle evenly throughout the sea, do I thereby come to own the sea, or have I foolishly dissipated my tomato juice?
Judith Jarvis Thomson points out that the act of laboring makes Locke's argument either an appeal to desert, in which case the reward is arbitrary "Why not instead a medal and a handshake from the president?", or little different than first possession theories that existed before Locke.
A fundamental criticism of Locke's labor theory of property is that it, in practice, values a particular type of labor and land use (i.e.: agriculture) over all others. It thus does not recognise usage of land, for example, by hunter-gatherer societies as granting rights to ownership. In essence, the Lockean proviso depends on "the existence of a frontier, beyond which lies boundless usable land. This in turn requires the erasure (mentally and usually in brutal reality) of the people already living beyond the frontier and drawing their sustenance from the land in question." Locke's theories of property rights are often interpreted in the context of his support for chattel slavery of "prisoners captured in war" as a philosophical justification for the enslavement and genocides committed by early American colonists.
A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke was originally published in 1689. Its initial publication was in Latin, though it was immediately translated into other languages. Locke's work appeared amidst a fear that Catholicism might be taking over England, and responds to the problem of religion and government by proposing religious toleration as the answer. This "letter" is addressed to an anonymous "Honored Sir": this was actually Locke's close friend Philipp van Limborch, who published it without Locke's knowledge.Air rights
Air rights are the property interest in the "space" above the earth's surface. Generally speaking, owning, or renting, land or a building includes the right to use and develop the space above the land without interference by others.
This legal concept is encoded in the Latin phrase Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos ("Whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell."), which appears in medieval Roman law and is credited to 13th-century glossator Accursius; it was notably popularized in common law in Commentaries on the Laws of England (1766) by William Blackstone; see origins of phrase for details.An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a work by John Locke concerning the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. It first appeared in 1689 (although dated 1690) with the printed title An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. He describes the mind at birth as a blank slate (tabula rasa, although he did not use those actual words) filled later through experience. The essay was one of the principal sources of empiricism in modern philosophy, and influenced many enlightenment philosophers, such as David Hume and George Berkeley.
Book I of the Essay is Locke's attempt to refute the rationalist notion of innate ideas. Book II sets out Locke's theory of ideas, including his distinction between passively acquired simple ideas, such as "red," "sweet," "round," etc., and actively built complex ideas, such as numbers, causes and effects, abstract ideas, ideas of substances, identity, and diversity. Locke also distinguishes between the truly existing primary qualities of bodies, like shape, motion and the arrangement of minute particles, and the secondary qualities that are "powers to produce various sensations in us" such as "red" and "sweet." These secondary qualities, Locke claims, are dependent on the primary qualities. He also offers a theory of personal identity, offering a largely psychological criterion. Book III is concerned with language, and Book IV with knowledge, including intuition, mathematics, moral philosophy, natural philosophy ("science"), faith, and opinion.Co-operative economics
Co-operative economics is a field of economics that incorporates co-operative studies and political economy toward the study and management of co-operatives.Customary land
Customary land is land which is owned by indigenous communities and administered in accordance with their customs, as opposed to statutory tenure usually introduced during the colonial periods. Common ownership is one form of customary land ownership.
Since the late 20th century, statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge. The gap between formally recognized and customarily held and managed land is a significant source of underdevelopment, conflict, and environmental degradation.In the Malawi Land Act of 1965, "Customary Land" is defined as "all land which is held, occupied or used under customary law, but does not include any public land". In most countries of the Pacific islands, customary land remains the dominant land tenure form. Distinct customary systems of tenure have evolved on different islands and areas within the Pacific region. In any country there may be many different types of customary tenure.The amount of customary land ownership out of the total land area of Pacific island nations is the following: 97% in Papua New Guinea, 90% in Vanuatu, 88% in Fiji, 87% in the Solomon Islands, and 81% in Samoa.David Ellerman
David Patterson Ellerman (born March 14, 1943) is a philosopher and author who works in the fields of economics and political economy, social theory and philosophy, and in mathematics. He has written extensively on workplace democracy based on a modern treatment of the labor theory of property and the theory of inalienable rights as rights based on de facto inalienable capacities.First possession theory of property
The "first possession" theory of property holds that ownership of something is justified simply by someone seizing it before someone else does. This contrasts with the labor theory of property where something may become property only by applying productive labor to it, i.e. by making something out of the materials of nature.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.Index of philosophy of law articles
This is an index of articles in jurisprudence.
A Failure of Capitalism
American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
António Castanheira Neves
Arthur Linton Corbin
Bartolomé de las Casas
Biblical law in Christianity
Carl Joachim Friedrich
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Critical legal studies
Critical race theory
Daniel N. Robinson
Declaration of Delhi
Dignitas (Roman concept)
Divine command theory
Duncan Kennedy (legal philosopher)
Emerich de Vattel
Ernesto Garzón Valdés
Ethical arguments regarding torture
Expounding of the Law
Eye for an eye
Feminist legal theory
First possession theory of property
Freedom of contract
Friedrich von Hayek
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
German Historical School
Giorgio Del Vecchio
Global Justice or Global Revenge?
H. L. A. Hart
Indeterminacy debate in legal theory
International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy
International legal theory
John Austin (legal philosopher)
John Macdonell (jurist)
Joseph H. H. Weiler
Juan de Mariana
Labor theory of property
Law and economics
Law and Gospel
Law and literature
Law as integrity
Law in action
Law of Christ
Law, Legislation and Liberty
Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy
Legal origins theory
Legal process (jurisprudence)
Legalism (Chinese philosophy)
Legalism (Western philosophy)
Letter and spirit of the law
Libertarian theories of law
Lon L. Fuller
Manuel de Lardizábal y Uribe
Monism and dualism in international law
Monopoly on violence
Natural order (philosophy)
New legal realism
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach
Philippe de Mornay
Philosophy of copyright
Prediction theory of law
Principles of Islamic jurisprudence
Public policy doctrine (conflict of laws)
R. Kent Greenawalt
Robert P. George
Roberto Mangabeira Unger
Rule by decree
Rule of Faith
Rule of law
Scepticism in law
State of emergency
State of exception
The Case of the Speluncean Explorers
The Concept of Law
The Golden Rule
Translating "law" to other European languages
Unitary executive theory
Wesley Alba Sturges
Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld
Zechariah ChafeeIntangible property
Intangible property, also known as incorporeal property, describes something which a person or corporation can have ownership of and can transfer ownership to another person or corporation, but has no physical substance, for example brand identity or knowledge/intellectual property. It generally refers to statutory creations such as copyright, trademarks, or patents. It excludes tangible property like real property (land, buildings, and fixtures) and personal property (ships, automobiles, tools, etc.). In some jurisdictions intangible property are referred to as choses in action. Intangible property is used in distinction to tangible property. It is useful to note that there are two forms of intangible property: legal intangible property (which is discussed here) and competitive intangible property (which is the source from which legal intangible property is created but cannot be owned, extinguished, or transferred). Competitive intangible property disobeys the intellectual property test of voluntary extinguishment and therefore results in the sources that create intellectual property (knowledge in its source form, collaboration, process-engagement, etc.) escaping quantification.
Generally, ownership of intangible property gives the owner a set of legally enforceable rights over reproduction of personal property containing certain content. For example, a copyright owner can control the reproduction of the work forming the copyright. However, the intangible property forms a set of rights separate from the tangible property that carries the rights. For example, the owner of a copyright can control the printing of books containing the content, but the book itself is personal property which can be bought and sold without concern over the rights of the copyright holder.
In English law and other Commonwealth legal systems, intangible property is traditionally divided in pure intangibles (such as debts, intellectual property rights and goodwill) and documentary intangibles, which obtain their character through the medium of a document (such as a bill of lading, promissory note or bill of exchange). The recent rise of electronic documents has blurred the distinction between pure intangibles and documentary intangibles.John Locke
John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as David Hume, Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness. He postulated that, at birth, the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary to Cartesian philosophy based on pre-existing concepts, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception. This is now known as empiricism. An example of Locke's belief in empiricism can be seen in his quote, "whatever I write, as soon as I discover it not to be true, my hand shall be the forwardest to throw it into the fire." This shows the ideology of science in his observations in that something must be capable of being tested repeatedly and that nothing is exempt from being disproven. Challenging the work of others, Locke is said to have established the method of introspection, or observing the emotions and behaviours of one's self.Labor theory of value
The labor theory of value (LTV) is a normative classical theory of value that argues that the price of a good or service should be (morally) equal to the total amount of labor value (wages) required to produce it. Smith and other classical economists saw the price of a commodity in terms of the labor that the purchaser must expend to buy it.
Marx later modified this normative (moral) theory of value to become a new idea, that the economic value or price of something was literally determined by the "socially necessary labor", rather than by the use or pleasure its owner gets from it and its scarcity value. For that reason, LTV is usually associated with Marxian economics. The LTV is central to Marxist theory, which holds that the working class is exploited under capitalism, and dissociates price and value. Marx did not refer to his own theory of value as a "labour theory of value". Neoclassical economics tends to reject the need for a LTV, concentrating instead on a theory of price determined by supply and demand.List of types of formally designated forests
This is a list of types of formally designated forests, as used in various places around the world. It is organized in three sublists: by forest ownership, protection status, and designated use.Little House on the Prairie
The "Little House" Books is a series of American children's novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, based on her childhood and adolescence in the American Midwest (Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri) between 1870 and 1894. Eight of the novels were completed by Wilder, and published by Harper & Brothers. The appellation "Little House" books comes from the first and third novels in the series of eight published in her lifetime. The second novel was about her husband's childhood. The first draft of a ninth novel was published posthumously in 1971 and is commonly included in the series.The Little House books have been adapted for stage or screen more than once, most successfully as the American television series Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1983. As well as an anime, and many different kinds of books, such as cookbooks, there are also many licensed objects to buy that are representative of the books.A tenth book, the non-fiction On the Way Home, is Laura Ingalls Wilder's diary of the years after 1894, when she, her husband and their infant daughter moved from De Smet, South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, where they settled permanently. It was published in 1962 and includes commentary by Rose Wilder Lane.Lockean proviso
The Lockean proviso is a feature of John Locke's labour theory of property which states that whilst individuals have a right to homestead private property from nature by working on it, they can do so only "at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others."Of the Conduct of the Understanding
John Locke's Of the Conduct of the Understanding describes how to think clearly and rationally. It is a handbook for autodidacts. It complements Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education which explains how to educate children. The text was first published in 1706, two years after Locke's death, as part of Peter King's Posthumous Works of John Locke.Property
Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it (as a durable, mean or factor, or whatever), or at the very least exclusively keep it.
In economics and political economy, there are three broad forms of property: private property, public property, and collective property (also called cooperative property).Property that jointly belongs to more than one party may be possessed or controlled thereby in very similar or very distinct ways, whether simply or complexly, whether equally or unequally. However, there is an expectation that each party's will (rather discretion) with regard to the property be clearly defined and unconditional, so as to distinguish ownership and easement from rent. The parties might expect their wills to be unanimous, or alternately every given one of them, when no opportunity for or possibility of dispute with any other of them exists, may expect his, her, its or their own will to be sufficient and absolute.
The Restatement (First) of Property defines property as anything, tangible or intangible whereby a legal relationship between persons and the state enforces a possessory interest or legal title in that thing. This mediating relationship between individual, property and state is called a property regime.In sociology and anthropology, property is often defined as a relationship between two or more individuals and an object, in which at least one of these individuals holds a bundle of rights over the object. The distinction between "collective property" and "private property" is regarded as a confusion since different individuals often hold differing rights over a single object.Important widely recognized types of property include real property (the combination of land and any improvements to or on the land), personal property (physical possessions belonging to a person), private property (property owned by legal persons, business entities or individual natural persons), public property (state owned or publicly owned and available possessions) and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc.), although the last is not always as widely recognized or enforced. An article of property may have physical and incorporeal parts. A title, or a right of ownership, establishes the relation between the property and other persons, assuring the owner the right to dispose of the property as the owner sees fit.Property rights (economics)
Property rights are theoretical socially-enforced constructs in economics for determining how a resource or economic good is used and owned. Resources can be owned by (and hence be the property of) individuals, associations or governments. Property rights can be viewed as an attribute of an economic good. This attribute has four broad components and is often referred to as a bundle of rights:
the right to use the good
the right to earn income from the good
the right to transfer the good to others
the right to enforce property rightsIn economics, property is usually considered to be ownership (rights to the proceeds generated by the property) and control over a resource or good. Many economists effectively argue that property rights need to be fixed and need to portray the relationships among other parties in order to be more effective.Tangible property
Tangible property in law is, literally, anything which can be touched, and includes both real property and personal property (or moveable property), and stands in distinction to intangible property.In English law and some Commonwealth legal systems, items of tangible property are referred to as choses in possession (or a chose in possession in the singular). However, some property, despite being physical in nature, is classified in many legal systems as intangible property rather than tangible property because the rights associated with the physical item are of far greater significance than the physical properties. Principally, these are documentary intangibles. For example, a promissory note is a piece of paper that can be touched, but the real significance is not the physical paper, but the legal rights which the paper confers, and hence the promissory note is defined by the legal debt rather than the physical attributes.A unique category of property is money, which in some legal systems is treated as tangible property and in others as intangible property. Whilst most countries legal tender is expressed in the form of intangible property ("The Treasury of Country X hereby promises to pay to the bearer on demand...."), in practice banknotes are now rarely ever redeemed in any country, which has led to banknotes and coins being classified as tangible property in most modern legal systems.