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Private vs Public Ownership

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Jiezy
Words 945
Pages 4
Throughout the article Ziff presents a dichotomy between the individual and the society. Ziff states property as being “relationships among people with regard to things.” Prior to the development of legal systems ownership did not exist and people were not restricted from using resources. As society and legal systems developed so too has the idea of ownership over a material object as a right to be exercised and enforced against others in the society. Whilst arguably both a common and private ownership would be an adequate way to mediate the use of resources in a society, many of the justifications for private ownership yield a weakness that is reflected in the benefits to the society versus the individual.

Typically the justifications for private ownership also rely on the same arguments between two central forms of ownership models being Marxism and Capitalism. Ziff even acknowledges in this article that each justification is based on the conviction that “private ownership [Capitalism] is western culture’s noblest triumph,” and subsequently fails to highlight how a common ownership system could be superior, rather than which has more weight. Many are of this contrary view that Capitalism and therefore private ownership is “not sustainable forever in a world of finite resources,” which is evidence of a large weakness in many of the justifications presented by Ziff.

One of the key arguments made to support a capitalist society and in turn private property is that of economic efficiency – the basic idea that a market economy, where people have a transferable right over material objects will allocate resources efficiently to those who demand it the most. Whilst in a purely allocative sense this provides a large benefit to society, it is also an unbalanced one. Where society allocates private ownership there will be “abject poverty at one end of the wealth...

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