Episode 40: Property
and Political Philosophy
Emmanuel de Dios, dean of the University of the
Philippines School of Economics, examines the development
of the idea of property rights in western philosophy.
He explains that the rationale for property rights
can be summed up into two opposing thoughts: the natural
rights view and the welfare or utilitarian view. The
natural rights notion is that property rights are
absolute. They are intrinsically linked to the individual’s
aim for liberty, well-being and progress, and they
cannot be tampered with.
The utilitarian notion, on the other hand, is that
they are relative and can be modified to aim at social
improvement. He explains that this welfare view is
what fuelled Karl Marx’s position. Marx believed
that it is desirable to actually re-arrange property
rights, tinker with the market, and realize a net
social gain by crafting better arrangements through
revolutionary politics. However, history has proven
Marx wrong. The economic collapse of Socialism showed
that stable property rights and a functioning market
work far, far better than political command-and-control
systems that only direct economies into inefficiency,
waste and stagnation.
The music is provided by Dieter
Bachmann and Dan-O.
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