Libertarian Papers 2:40 (2010)

If property is defined as something over which an individual should have exclusive control, then the traditional notion of property must be abandoned. Specifically, the idea that a physical object is someone’s property fails to meet the definition given. This paper examines why an individual should not always have exclusive control over physical things, and, if not objects, what exactly an individual should have exclusive control over.The proposed solution is that property be delineated not by physical boundaries, but by human action. This does not include all action, for scarcity makes certain actions mutually exclusive. Therefore, property is conceived of as proper action, i.e., action consistent with the non-aggression principle. Those physical objects traditionally considered property are then simply means of proper action.The benefits of this change in perspective are then examined with regard to production, exchange, aggression and other related topics.
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