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eBook Property and Freedom ePub

by Richard Pipes

eBook Property and Freedom ePub
Author: Richard Pipes
Language: English
ISBN: 0375704477
ISBN13: 978-0375704475
Publisher: Vintage (June 13, 2000)
Pages: 352
Category: Politics & Government
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 543
Formats: mbr lrf txt doc
ePub file: 1899 kb
Fb2 file: 1146 kb

Property, asserts Richard Pipes, is an indispensable ingredient not only of economic progress but also of liberty and the rule of law. In his new book, the Harvard scholar demonstrates how, throughout history, private ownership has served as a barrier to the power of the state, enabling th. .

Property, asserts Richard Pipes, is an indispensable ingredient not only of economic progress but also of liberty and the rule of law. In his new book, the Harvard scholar demonstrates how, throughout history, private ownership has served as a barrier to the power of the state, enabling the Western world to evolve enduring democratic institutions. He traces the development of private property, beginning with ancient Greece and Rome, where property rights in the modern sense first made their appearance.

Property and freedom. 1st Vintage Books ed. External-identifier. urn:asin:0375704477 urn:acs6:e:pdf:b9a-d177bfe52397 urn:acs6:e:epub:36e-cf40333b64e0.

Richard Pipes offers a vigorous defense of a fundamental freedom-private property-in this engaging mix of history, economics, and political theory. Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable erudition to an exploration of a wide range of national and political systems to demonstrate persuasively that private ownership has served over the centuries to limit the power of the state and enable democratic institutions to evolve and thrive in the Western world.

Property and Freedom book. Beginning Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable erudition to an exploration of a wide range of national and political systems to demonstrate persuasively that private ownership has served over the centuries to limit the power of the state and enable democratic institutions to evolve and thrive in the Western world.

Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable . Property and Freedom is a brilliant contribution to political thought and an essential work on a subject of vital importance.

Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable erudition to an exploration of a wide range of national and political systems to demonstrate persuasively that private ownership has served over the centuries to limit the power of the state and enable democratic institutions to evolve and thrive in the Western world.

Pipes wrote many books on Russian history, including Russia under the Old Regime (1974) . Property and Freedom (1999).

Pipes wrote many books on Russian history, including Russia under the Old Regime (1974), The Russian Revolution (1990), and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime (1994), and was a frequent interviewee in the press on the matters of Soviet history and foreign affairs. Communism: A History (2001). Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger (2003). Richard Pipes was for many years a professor of history at Harvard University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Marlborough, New Hampshire. Beginning with Greece and Rome, where the concept of private property as we understand it first developed, Pipes then shows us how, in the late medieval period, the idea matured with the expansion of commerce and the rise.

Explore books by Richard Pipes with our selection at Waterstones. View basket Checkout. Go. Three Whys Of Russian Revolution (Paperback).

Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable erudition to an exploration of a wide range of national and political systems to demonstrate persuasively that private ownership has served over the centuries to limit the power of the state and enable democratic institutions to evolve and thrive in the Western world.Beginning with Greece and Rome, where the concept of private property as we understand it first developed, Pipes then shows us how, in the late medieval period, the idea matured with the expansion of commerce and the rise of cities. He contrasts England, a country where property rights and parliamentary government advanced hand-in-hand, with Russia, where restrictions on ownership have for centuries consistently abetted authoritarian regimes; finally he provides reflections on current and future trends in the United States. Property and Freedom is a brilliant contribution to political thought and an essential work on a subject of vital importance.
Deeroman
“Liberty is by its nature inegalitarian, because living creatures differ in strength, intelligence, ambition, courage, perseverance, and all else that makes for success. Equality of opportunity and equality before the law

(in the sense laid down to the Israelites through Moses in Leviticus 24: 22: “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the home-born; for I am the Lord your God”)

are not only compatible with liberty but essential to it. Equality of reward is not. Since this kind of equality exists neither in the animal kingdom nor among primitive peoples, it must be regarded as unnatural, and hence attainable only by coercion, which is why all utopian schemes presuppose despotic authority and all despots insist on the equality of their subjects.’’

‘Despots require equality’

“As Walter Bagehot observed over a century ago, “there is no method by which men can be both free and equal.”

This forms the foundation of Pipes presentation.

Why so difficult to explain?

“The trouble is that because schools fail to teach history, especially legal and constitutional history, the vast majority of today’s citizens have no inkling to what they owe their liberty and prosperity, namely a long and successful struggle for rights of which the right to property is the most fundamental. They are therefore unaware what debilitating effect the restrictions on property rights will, over the long run, have on their lives.’’

Reminded that Fredrick Douglass said that forbidding history - ensures the continuing power to enslave!

From Tocqueville . . .

“. . .an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike” incessantly strive to pursue “the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives.”

“The benign paternalistic government—the modern welfare state—hovers over them: For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole and only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?’’

Interesting that Tocqueville was a French aristocrat. Nevertheless, understood that democracy was coming. What impact?

“The “principle of equality has prepared men for these things” and “oftentimes to look on them as benefits.” After having thus taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arms over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.’’

Well . . .

“The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’’

“Is this what we want?’’

(Last words of this work.)

Tocqueville keen reader of Rousseau . . .

“When James Boswell visited Rousseau, who more than any Frenchman of his time influenced public opinion against property, his host told him: “Sir, I have no liking for the world. I live here in a world of fantasies, and I cannot tolerate the world as it is. . . . Mankind disgusts me.”

“Ill-tempered but honest: utopias have always served as an outlet for misanthropic emotions.”

Yeah, Rousseau was not moved by love for people. Abandoned all five of his children in infancy, one after the next!

“The Social Contract (1762), he implied that inasmuch as it was society that sanctioned property, “each individual’s right to his very own store is always subordinate to the community’s right to all.” It is his antiproprietary views, however—the notion that property is “artificial” and communism “natural,” and that the state has a legitimate right to regulate the uses to which property is put—that have exerted the greatest influence on Western thought. They displayed just the right mixture of noble sentiment, lofty rhetoric, muddled thinking, and disregard for reality to attract those intellectuals who, like him, refused to “tolerate the world as it is.”

Was this significant?

“Robespierre is said to have reread The Social Contract every day.’’

Yep, it is!

“After the middle of the eighteenth century,” writes Franco Venturi, “the idea that the abolition of property might change the very basis of human society, might abolish all traditional morality and every political form of the past, was never again to disappear.”

Capitalism inspired Marx, right?

“Communism was born “halfway through the eighteenth century” —before the emergence of industrial capitalism and the glaring social inequalities to which it would give rise. It was a pure intellectual construct, conceived in the imagination of thinkers who looked backward to a Golden Age. It held an irresistible attraction for those intellectuals who liked to blame their personal problems on the society in which they happened to live. For in a world in which material assets were perfectly equalized, superior social status and the power that goes with it would derive from intellectual capabilities, with which they believed themselves uniquely endowed.’’

Wow! Power from intellect, not money!

““Conspiracy for Equality,” which is the original communist manifesto. As would Lenin a century later, Babeuf and his followers revived an idea popular among the Jacobins that the French Revolution had stopped halfway: limited to politics, it had to be followed by a social revolution, which would supplement liberty with equality.’’

This belief that the Russian revolution is simply the completion of the French explains much . . .

“ Babeuf saw the world as a living hell, lorded over by unscrupulous crooks. It had to be destroyed and replaced with a communist commonwealth: We aim at . . . common property, or the community of goods! . . . No more individual property in lands. The earth belongs to no one . . . the fruits belong to all. Equality is “the first vow of nature” and “the first want of man,” but so far it has been only an empty slogan.’’

“We desire real equality or death” and “we shall have this real equality, no matter at what price”: by “real” equality he meant that which rested on communal property. “Woe to him who will offer resistance to so determined a resolve!” Let all the arts perish, if necessary. According to Babeuf, the establishment of such a regime would require a long period of dictatorship. Babeuf’s ideal was an ascetic community which severely punished shirkers.’’

‘No matter what the price’!

In England . . .

“Godwin restated the criticisms of private property familiar from French radical literature, to conclude that property and family were the source of every evil that befell mankind. Justice required the resources of this world to be equally distributed: inequality corrupted the rich and diverted the poor from the higher things of life. Once property had been done away with, humanity would experience an unprecedented flowering of genius. Crime would disappear, and so would wars. Mind would triumph over matter and willpower over necessity.’’

‘Willpower conquer everything’?

“Man would become immortal, inasmuch as “we are sick and we die, generally speaking, because we consent to suffer these accidents[!].”

Astounding! This is not economics or politics - this is religion from philosophy!

Referring to Rawls . . .

“The relative novelty of the book lies in its insistence on applying the principle of equality not only to material goods but also to intelligence and inborn skills. These advantages gained, as it were, in nature’s “lottery” ought not to bring the fortunate possessor any special benefits, because they are unearned. According to Rawls, the allocation of talents and abilities must be regarded “as arbitrary from a moral perspective.” He objects to “the distribution of wealth and income [being] determined by the natural distribution of abilities and talents.”

‘Equality of brains and ability’?

“Talents should be viewed as “a common asset” and their possessors should profit from them “only on terms that improve the situation of those who have lost out.” If need be, efficiency must be sacrificed in order to attain perfect equality. Rawls thus goes beyond the most radical communist theorists in wishing to socialize natural talents, that is, to deny more talented individuals the benefits which their talents bring them. “Equality of opportunity” is rejected as inherently unfair, since it “means an equal chance to leave the less fortunate behind in the personal quest for influence and social position.” The abilities of the more talented have to be used for common advantage: they become a “common asset.”

Why?

“In this manner, not only inequality will be eliminated but also envy.’’

DEFINITIONS INTRODUCTION 1 -THE IDEA OF PROPERTY
1 Classical antiquity
3. The discovery of the “noble savage”
5. Seventeenth-century England: property sanctified
6. Eighteenth-century France: the assault on property begins in earnest
7. Socialism, communism, and anarchism
8. The twentieth century

2 -THE INSTITUTION OF PROPERTY
9. Feudal Europe
10. Medieval cities
11. Early modern Europe

3 -ENGLAND AND THE BIRTH OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY
1 Pre-Norman England
3. The role of common law
5. The Tudors
6. The early Stuarts
7. The Commonwealth
9. The Glorious Revolution
10. Continental Europe

4 -PATRIMONIAL RUSSIA
1 Pre-Muscovite Russia
2. Novgorod
3. Muscovy
6. Peter the Great
7. Catherine the Great
8. The emancipation of serfs
9. The rise of a moneyed economy

5 -PROPERTY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
1 Communism
2. Fascism and National Socialism
3. The welfare state
4. Modern corporations and property
6. The growing power of the state
7. Environmental protection vs. private ownership
9. Entitlements
10. Contracts
11. Affirmative action in employment
13. School busing
14. Summing up

“But the Russians certainly did adopt Mongol political attitudes: for by serving as Mongol agents they became accustomed to treating their people as vanquished subjects, devoid of any rights. This mentality outlived Mongol rule.’’

This explains much of Russian history.

Chapter on twentieth century . . .

“A wage earner has no access to productive assets; his wages are not property because his job is not assured. The immense wealth created by the capitalist mode of production, combined with fear of social unrest, has induced modern democracies to institute welfare policies in the form of unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, and numerous other “entitlements.” In the opinion of some scholars, these benefits offset the decline in private ownership—they are, in effect, rights and as such represent “property.”

This observation offers insight to causes of change.

“But even if this point is conceded, they resemble the conditional possession of the feudal era rather than genuine property inasmuch as they are not disposable assets. The modern world has witnessed restrictions not only of property rights but also of liberties historically associated with them. Exploiting the social turmoil caused by two world wars and the intervening Great Depression, demagogues in many parts of the world, but especially in Europe, have resorted to socialist slogans to justify the expropriation or subordination of private property to the state. Where they have succeeded, the population became to a high degree dependent for economic survival on the goodwill of its rulers.’’

What is danger?

“This occurred in Communist Russia and China, as well as in National Socialist Germany, and their various emulators around the globe. The result was loss of freedom as well as slaughter on a scale never before known. The massacres were legitimized by political doctrines of a new kind demanding the physical “liquidation” of whole categories of people designated as belonging to the “wrong” social class, race, or ethnic group. The simultaneous violation of property rights and destruction of human lives was not mere coincidence, for, as we have stressed, what a man is, what he does, and what he owns are of a piece, so that the assault on his belongings is an assault also on his individuality and his right to life. But the well-intentioned measures of democratic social welfare have also encroached on both property and freedom—more elusively, and certainly less violently, but in the long run perhaps no less dangerously.’’

‘Destruction of property and people’ - one leads to the other.

Why soviets attempt to change?

“The Soviet leadership was slow to realize the impact of this technological revolution on warfare; they did so only after repeated setbacks of the weaponry in the hands of their own troops as well as those of their allies. In the 1980s, the prospect of the USSR’s keeping up with its potential adversaries in the quality and use of weaponry began to look hopeless. Given the overriding importance attached by Moscow to military might for both domestic and international reasons, such a situation could not be tolerated. Hence, some of the most reactionary elements in the country, among them the generals, agreed on a program of economic reform. When it transpired that economic reform was not feasible without some degree of political reform, they ventured on this course as well. And it soon turned out that the Communist system was of a piece, that it could not be partially reformed. It unraveled at a speed that arouses astonishment to this day.’’

I found this fascinating! The the most reactionary class - the military - promoted the change!

Pipes conclusion . . .

“Now it may be argued that a certain sacrifice of personal freedom is acceptable if it purchases a significant improvement in the condition of the less fortunate elements of society. But the problem is that such improvement is not evident: indeed, it appears that welfare which aims at providing more than basic needs actually increases poverty.’’

Pipes writing for the general reader.

Erudite, careful, scholarly, persuasive, through, detailed

Confident, firm, serious - without arrogance. Great!

Easy to chew, tastes spicy, goes down smoothly, digests quickly!

About seven hundred references (not linked) Amazing!

About one hundred sixty excellent notes (linked). Wonderful!

No photographs
Fenritaur
Book was exactly as described and at a good price, arrived on time and I am happy with my transaction. Thanks.
Malanim
The United States is a society based upon land rights. This country was able to survive because it acquired the land (right, wrong, or otherwise) which it was able to sell and generate revenue in which to develop its government and expand as a nation. This is a good reference for your library.
Blackbrand
An insightful analysis of how private property is essential to a free society governed by the rule of law.
Sat
Interesting and detailed.
Dianalmeena
VERY GOOD
Adoranin
In five chapters, Richard Pipes brilliantly argues that property rights lie as the foundation of all our freeedom.

Pipes begins by establishing that we and many other animals have an instinctive urge to possess and to mark territory. He goes on to describe how the institution of property arose and debunks the myth of a "propertyless Eden", a Utopian ideal to which some dreamers would want Man to return. He follows with a description of how property rights protected the freedoms of the people in England from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and how badly instituted property rights in Russia failed to protect even a minority of nobles from the whims of the Czar. Pipes then analyzes how in the 20th century property rights fared under Nazi and Communist rule in Germany and Russia.

Up until this point Pipes's analysis is faultless, bold, original, and convincing. However he fails to convince when he begins examining property rights in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. He doesn't like paying taxes, which hardly surprises anyone familiar with Pipes's very conservative political views. But, complex tax codes notwithstanding, taxes redistribute wealth in a transparent and well ordered manner.

People don't live in isolation; people live and work in society. Property is only one of the institutions that make up our world, albeit an absolutely necessary one as Pipes argues. But when wealth is created and becomes the creator's property, society has a duty through its institution to take a share. Call it a royalty or a rent.

Pipes is understandably frustrated by the sense of entitlement created by an overstretched meaning of rights (e.g. abuse of rent controls) and by government overactivity (e.g. busing) but is the solution to the abuses found in stronger property rights and in voluntary charity? Pipes did not convince me it did.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo
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