The Myth of Property: Toward an Egalitarian Theory of Ownership

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byJohn Christman

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The Myth of Property is the first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership. It critically analyzes what it means to own something, and it takes familiar debates about distributive justice and recasts them into discussions of the structure ofownership. The traditional notion of private property assumed by both defenders and opponents of that system is criticized and exposed as a "myth." The book then puts forward a new theory of what it means to own something, one that will be important for any theory of distributive justice. This newapproach more adequately reveals the disparate social and individual values that property ownership serves to promote. The study has importance for understanding the reform of capitalist and welfare state systems, as well as the institution of market economies in former socialist states, for theview developed here makes the traditional dichotomy between private ownership capitalism and public ownership socialism obsolete. This new approach to ownership also places egalitarian principles of distributive justice in a new light and challenges critics to clarify aspects of property ownershipworth protecting against calls for greater equality. The book closes by showing how defenders of egalitarianism can make use of some of the ideas and values that traditionally made private property appear to be such a pervasive human institution.

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From Our Editors

The first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership, The Myth of Property critically analyzes what it means to own something, taking on familiar debates about distributive justice and recasting them into discussions of the structure of ownership.

From the Publisher

The Myth of Property is the first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership. It critically analyzes what it means to own something, and it takes familiar debates about distributive justice and recasts them into discussions of the structure ofownership. The traditional notion of private prope...

John Christman is at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.76 × 6.5 × 0.79 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195085949

ISBN - 13:9780195085945

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From Our Editors

The first book-length study to focus directly on the variable and complex structure of ownership, The Myth of Property critically analyzes what it means to own something, taking on familiar debates about distributive justice and recasting them into discussions of the structure of ownership.

Editorial Reviews

"An interesting alternative approach to the analysis of property and ownership rights....Even if one does not accept the author's...views... there is much to like about this book....This book is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the theory of property rights and its relation to theeconomic policy process."--Journal of Economic Literature