Just Property: A History in the Latin West. Volume One: Wealth, Virtue, and the Law

Hardcover | September 21, 2013

byChristopher Pierson

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We live in a world which is characterised by both a radical inequality in wealth and incomes and the accelerating depletion of scarce natural resources. One of the things that prevents us from addressing these problems, perhaps even prevents us from seeing them as problems, is our belief thatindividuals and corporations have claims to certain resources and income streams that are non-negotiable, even when these claims seem manifestly hostile to our collective long-term well-being. This book is an attempt to understand how, why and when we came to believe these things. This first volume traces ideas about private property and its justification in the Latin West, starting with the ancient Greeks. It follows several lines of thinking which run through the Roman and medievalworlds. It traces the profound impact of the rise of Christianity and the instantiation of both natural and Roman Law. It considers the complex interplay of religious and legal ideas as these developed through the Renaissance, the Reformation and the counter-Reformation leading on to the ideasassociated with modern natural law. The first volume concludes with a close re-reading of Locke. We can find well-made arguments for private property throughout this history but these were not always the arguments which we now assume them to have been and they were almost always radicallyconditional, qualified by other considerations, above all, a sense of what the securing of the common good required. These arguments included an appeal to the natural law, to the dispensations of a just God, to utility, to securing economic growth and to maintaining the peace. They almost neverincluded the claim that individuals have naturally - or God-given rights that trump the well-being, especially the basic well-being, of other individuals. In late modernity, we have lost sight of many of these arguments - to our collective loss.

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We live in a world which is characterised by both a radical inequality in wealth and incomes and the accelerating depletion of scarce natural resources. One of the things that prevents us from addressing these problems, perhaps even prevents us from seeing them as problems, is our belief thatindividuals and corporations have claims to ...

Chris Pierson has been professor of politics at the University of Nottingham since 1996. He has also held visiting positions at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, at the Australian National University in Canberra and at the Hansewissenschaftskolleg in Lower Saxony. He is best-known for his work on welfare s...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:September 21, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199673284

ISBN - 13:9780199673285

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Greeks: property and the common good2. The Romans: private property and personhood3. The Early Christian Church: property and sinfulness4. The Medieval World: Roman laws, natural laws, and God's law5. The Late Medieval World: princes, popes and supreme poverty6. The Early Sixteenth Century: renaissance and reformation7. The Later Sixteenth Century: absolutism and resistance8. Natural Law and Natural Right in the Seventeenth Century: Grotius, Hobbes, and Pufendorf9. Seventeenth-Century Radicals: republicans, levellers and diggers10. LockeConclusion