Origin of Property Rights

The source of man’s right to property lies in his nature. Man’s supreme potential is the capacity to reason. That is, the capacity of his mind to perceive reality, to integrate and use concepts. Material exists in nature. But wealth doesn’t. It is created by man by the virtue of his productive thought process, and thinking is an independent activity. A group thought doesn’t exist. By exercising his capacity to think and act, man creates wealth by reorganising and reshaping the naturally available material.

Now the question arises, who decides the ownership of that “scarce” natural resource on which he has acted. Until and unless he has discovered the use of a particular material resource in nature for a specific productive activity, everyone else were oblivious to its presence. They have never recognised its value. The first man took it upon himself to invest his time and energy to shape it according to his independent vision.

The very activity of exercising the judgement of his mind and the effort he had put in the wealth production, morally makes the resource on which he had acted, and the product he has created, his private property.

Any bum passing by, cannot claim the ownership of his product, assuming that the creator has created something at his expense. He didn’t create at the bum’s expense. The bum was sitting on his ass doing nothing(precisely why he is called a bum), all the while the creator was working on the material, producing something of value.

You are not entitled to something for doing nothing. This is the principle of  JUSTICE. You may not accept nor demand the unearned.

The rational principle to decide the ownership of any untapped natural resource which is proved to be of value by the first man and thus created a demand for it (and pioneered an industry), is “first to come, first to be served.” The proper function of the government in this respect is to act as a custodian(not owner) of the untapped resources available in nature, openly recognising and entitling the first discoverers of the industry to own the resources on which they have acted for creating their own wealth.

Now, the government as such cannot assume ownership of any resources in its capacity, since state ownership implies the ownership of the material resources by the collective, and that assumed collective ownership of resources will be held as a mortgage on the wealth producer to extort his property by the use of force. This usually happens by forced taxation, at the point of a gun. This precisely is the reason why any collectivist state will always assume ownership of the material resources.