What is individual property, what is common property, what is collective property?

In an earler post, we reproduced some questions by Paolo DiMaio of p2p.aid, basically asking the question what is property, i.e. how does an individual acquire property in the first place, and how can property become common? This is a key question as we develop the digital commons.

Kevin Carson from Mutualist.org has been so kind to send us a number of bibliographic recommendations.

First of all, from within traditions kindred to mutualism, he refers to two essays, we quote him:

A good (and very sympathetic) article on common property, from a radical
Lockean stanpoint, is Roderick Long’s “A Plea for Public Property”
Formulations  5:3 (Spring 1998)

Another is Carlton Hobbs’ “Common Property in Free Market Anarchism: A
Missing Link”

The above is founded in property theory, about which Carson says:

The three big rival theories of property theory in land that more or less
fall under the “free market” or “classical liberal” category are 1) Lockean;
2) the J.K. Ingalls-Benjamin Tucker doctrine of occupancy and use; and 3)
the Georgist system of community collection of rent.

All three, interestingly enough, agree that individual property in unowned
land and natural resources is established by “mixing one’s labor” with the
land, or altering it in some way. Â But they differ in the rules for transfer
and abandonment.

I’d recommend, first of all, the major texts of the three schools.
For Locke, that would be the *Second Treatise on Government*.
For occupancy and use, it would be Joshua King Ingalls’ Â Social Wealth, and
the land section of Tucker’s *Instead of a Book*.
For Georgist, the main source is *Progress and Poverty by Henry George*.

I would also recommend Robert Nozick’s *Anarchy, State, and Utopia*, for his
discussion of the basic requirements for any property theory: Â a theory of
1) initial appropriation; 2) transfer; and 3) extinction or abandonment

Kevin Carson’s own book, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, chapter five,
consists of comparative material I on property rights and is available at mutualist.org

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