Preface to Social Theory of Property Rights
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2007
Volume 8, Issue 2, pages 199–211, July 1995
How to Cite
ZUCKER, R. (1995), Preface to Social Theory of Property Rights. Ratio Juris, 8: 199–211. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9337.1995.tb00208.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2007
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2007
Abstract. In the history of liberal theories of property, the predominant model deduces a right to highly unequal amounts of property from a premise that the person is primarily independent and self-determined. But modem social theory, communitarianism and critical legal theory have generated strong support for an alternative premise of social self-determination of the person. These theories have not, however, adequately explored the logical implications of social personality for the justifiable degree of equality of income under property right. This study reasons a right to some significant equalization of income from a premise that the individual is socially self-determined. The supporting argument develops a different concept of social personality than found in prevailing social and communitarian theories. With regard to property, it is particularly important to conceptualize the formation of the individual by and within the system of economic relations. The personological premises are also developed differently from Marx's analysis, which overemphasizes the production side of the economy. The present analysis examines the individual in the consumption side as well. But in contrast to the subjective-individualist conception of the consumer in neoclassical economic theory, we will utilize a conception of socially self-determined consumer wants and self-seeking. This social-personological premise proves to have strong egalitarian implications for the distribution of income under property rights.