Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Frances Hutcheson Weighs In...
when once Men become so numerous, that the natural Product of the Earth is not sufficient for their Support, of Ease, or innocent Pleasure, a necessity arises, for the support of the increasing System, that such a Tenour of Conduct be observ'd, as shall most effectually promote Industry; and that Men abstain from all Actions which would have the contrary effect. (An Inquiry Concerning Beauty and Virtue)
Buckle claims this passage shows that industry forms as a response to scarcity, and further that self-love inhibits industry without well-defined property rights. Thus property rights come about as soon as scarcity does. I find this history to be very compelling, but clearly it isn't complete, because writers after Hutcheson have tried to modify his theory. So I ask: what is missing from this brief history of property rights?
Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty