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Private Property in the Economic Philosophy Essay

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Updated: Apr 6th, 2021

The phenomenon of private property is having been widely discussed by the leading economists worldwide. Marx believed that its character was determined by the owner. In other words, he assumed it critical to distinguish between laborers and non-laborers while speaking about the owners of private property. The main disadvantage of Marx’s considerations resides in the fact that he limited the notion of private property to petty industry.

Therefore, the private property, according to Marx, is supposed to produce commonly essential goods and thence, to contribute to the general welfare. Marx notes that when private property, such as petty industry, belongs to a non-laborer, this form of ownership leads to “slavery, serfdom, and other states of dependence” (Heilbronner 189). This statement cannot be argued in the modern context when employees essentially depend on the private property’s owner.

Meanwhile, they are free to choose between the “owners”; thus, “slavery” cannot be applied to this form of dependence. Moreover, the relevant form of property allocation seems to be impossible in the modern world where petty industries are replaced by large corporations that provide thousands of workplaces. Hence, it might appear that Marx overlooked the fact that the number of goods demanded in the market would be growing, making petty industries incapable of fulfilling the social needs.

According to Marx, the main barrier to the establishment of the “right type” of the property is the existence of the “old social organisation.” Hence, in order to reorganize the institute of private property in such a manner that it serves the interests of the society, it is essential to complete several steps. First and foremost, it is necessary to ensure the minor property of the many, instead of the “huge property of the few” (Heilbronner 189).

At this point, it might be argued that this proposal is rather a pun than a rational suggestion. As soon as the majority receives the property, it will essentially assign another minority to manage it, returning to the initial pattern. Secondly, Marx states that it is essential to eliminate expropriation – its mechanism allows separating a laborer from the products of labor (Heilbronner 191). Upon applying this assumption to the modern reality, it can be noted that the complete elimination of the expropriation mechanism is impossible in today’s world where the means of labor become more sophisticated along with its character.

Works Cited

Heilbronner, Robert. Teachings from the Worldly Philosophy, New York, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Private Property in the Economic Philosophy'. 6 April.

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