This is the online-first publication in Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs of an article on the labor theory of property showing the superficiality of the inequality-debate framing in terms of distribution (i.e., how much is distributed by a firm to labor versus capital) in favor of a framing in terms of what is now called “predistribution”–in this case the question of who is to be the firm in the first place, Capital or Labor.
My paper on marginal productivity theory and the labor theory of property in the on-line journal Economic Thought drew commentaries for Jamie Morgan and Ted Burczak. After some back and forth on the journal’s discussion forum, this Reply to Commentators paper was published as an article in the journal.
This paper is an introduction to property theory including the invisible hand mechanism which handles the initiation and termination of property rights in an on-going private property market economy. The Fundamental Theorem is that when Hume’s conditions of no involuntary transfers and no breached contracts are fulfilled, then the Lockean principle of people getting the fruits of their labor, i.e., imputing legal responsibility in accordance with de facto responsibility is satisfied. The major application is to the current system of a private property market economy based on the renting of persons, i.e., the employment contract.
This is a reprint of the paper in the Journal of Economic Issues in Sept. 2014.
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).