06 Private Property

Private Property

We'll be digging into this idea deeper in the Libertarian section but it's a must mention here as Austrian thinking also places a high importance on (private) property.

Property/Property Rights

Term: Property/Property Rights Definition: Property (or property right) is a general term for the rules that govern people's access to and control of things like land, natural resources, the means of production, manufactured goods, and also (on some accounts) texts, ideas, inventions, and other intellectual products.[1] There is a close connection between property rights and human rights. Ludwig von Mises writes that the program of liberalism "if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production".[2]

Property rights govern people's access to various things. Disagreements about their use are likely to be serious because resource-use matters to people. They are particularly serious where the objects in question are both scarce and necessary. Any society with an interest in avoiding conflict needs such a system of rules.[1]
Source Reference: Property - Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought

Ludwig von Mises said

The meaning of private property in the market society is radically different from what it is under a system of each household's autarky. Where each household is economically self-sufficient, the privately owned means of production exclusively serve the proprietor. He alone reaps all the benefits derived from their employment.

In the market society, the proprietors of capital and land can enjoy their property only by employing it for the satisfaction of other people's wants. They must serve the consumers in order to have any advantage from what is their own. The very fact that they own means of production forces them to submit to the wishes of the public.

Ownership is an asset only for those who know how to employ it in the best possible way for the benefit of the consumers.

~ excerpted from chapter 24 of Human Action: The Scholar's Edition
To put an inkling on how intrinsic private property is with regards to human behaviour and choice, consider a home and property: how much of your labour and resources are you going to put in to the home and property knowing that someone could come along and simply steal it from you at any time? How about renting: same question but this time the property is not stolen, rather, the benefits of your investment go into another's pocket. How much better treated are items that are owned vs rented? Watch children: how often are toys that were obtained through the efforts of the child treated better than those that were gifted.

Just to name a few.

From an economic viewpoint, private property means one has 'skin in the game' which more often than not changes an individuals attitude and behaviour, usually in a positive way IMHO.