Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy.

Cambridge MA: Basil Blackwell Inc. 1992. Out of print with rights reverted to the author.

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This book presents a modern version of the old Labor (or Natural Rights) Theory of Property and of an Inalienable Rights Theory that descends from the Reformation and Enlightenment. Together these theories re-solve the basic problem of distribution in the sense of giving a basis for the just appropriation of property and a basis for answering the question of who is to be the firm, e.g., the suppliers of share capital as in conventional capital, the government as in socialism, or the people who work in the firm as in the system of economic democracy (or labor-managed market economies). While these theories address old questions in economics, they do so in an entirely different manner than conventional economics which renders the questions as being about value or price theory (instead of about property rights and contracts). This book is now out of print and the rights have reverted to the author. A neo-Austrian pre-publication reviewer of the book described the book as follows:

"The book's radical re-interpretation of property and contract is, I think, among the most powerful critiques of mainstream economics ever developed. It undermines the neoclassical way of thinking about property by articulating a theory of inalienable rights, and constructs out of this perspective a "labor theory of property" which is as different from Marx's labor theory of value as it is from neoclassicism. It traces roots of such ideas in some fascinating and largely forgotten strands of the history of economics. It draws attention to the question of "responsibility" which neoclassicism has utterly lost sight of. It is startlingly fresh in its overall approach, and unusually well written in its presentation.

... It constitutes a better case for its economic democracy viewpoint than anything else in the literature."


Table of Contents


Part I: Property

Chapter 1: The Fundamental Myth of Capitalist Property Rights

Chapter 2: The Appropriation of Property Rights

Chapter 3: The Labor Theory of Property

Chapter 4: Labor Theory of Property: Intellectual History

Chapter 5: Misinterpretations of the Labor Theory of Property

Part II: Contract

Chapter 6: The Employer-Employee Relationship

Chapter 7: Non-Democratic Liberalism: The Hidden Intellectual History of Capitalism

Chapter 8: Contracts and Inalienable Rights

Chapter 9: An Intellectual History of Inalienable Rights Theory

Chapter 10: Misinterpretations of the De Facto Theory of Inalienable Rights

Part III: Property and Contract in Economics

Chapter 11: Property Fallacies in Economics

Chapter 12: Marginal Productivity Theory

Chapter 13: Marxian Value Theory, MP Theory, and the Labor Theory of Property

Chapter 14: Fundamental Theorem of Property Theory

Chapter 15: Conclusions