Every man OWNS LEGITIMATELY THE THING which his labor, his intelligence, or, more generally, HIS ACTIVITY HAS CREATED.

Victor Considerant, quoted by Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

After looking into the positions of the economists and their analysis of property, Frédéric Bastiat looks into the thoughts of the socialist school. Two pages are dedicated to quote Victor Considerant, from which today’s quote is extracted. It is interesting to note that at this stage of the analysis, economists and socialists are roughly in agreement on at least one point, viz. that property is legitimate when it is the fruit of somebody’s labour.

What Bastiat is showing in this part goes even further than that: both would be in agreement to conclude that landed property is not entirely legitimate (natural agents would be creating part of the value coming from land)  and even on the fact that suppressing property rights is not a good idea. Economists would be in favour of ignoring the issue in order to avoid creating more issues while the socialists would be claim for compensation in order to avoid breaking the property rights (which led to the opening of the National Workshops in 1848 – the first socialist full-scale experiment failure).

Frédéric Bastiat thinks that this comes from the  same analysis error and that landed property is legitimate because land produces utility that the consumer would enjoy, not value that the landowner would take up for himself.

Other quotes from Landed Property:
Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Conclusion

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