A blupete Essay

A Side Note on Inheritance, Part 7 to blupete's Essay
"On Property Rights"

Locke's theory of property, while primarily resting on the right of labour to what it produced and on the ability of man to acquire it through legitimate trading activities, allows that a person might acquire property through inheritance. This question of inheritance is one that has long bothered me as it did Blackstone:
"Pleased as we are with the possession, we seem afraid to look back to the means by which it was acquired, as if fearful of some defect in our title... not caring to reflect that (accurately and strictly speaking) there is no foundation in nature or in natural law, why a set of words upon parchment should convey the domination of land: why the son should have a right to exclude his fellow-creatures from a determinate spot of ground, because his father had done so before him: or why the occupier of a particular field or of a jewel, when lying on his death-bed, and no longer able to maintain possession, should be entitled to tell the rest of the world which of them should enjoy it after him."
But, really, inheritance is something that should no more bother us than that which is inherent in the nature of ownership: the right to give a gift of your property to another. Or, for that matter to lend one's property to another, for a price (whether it be a fixed rate [interest] or for a piece of the action [profit]). Thus arose a system of capital which went beyond the labour theory of value, and which Marx condemned as exploitation.


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Peter Landry

2011 (2019)