The first of a two-part response, in which Dagan responds to the concern that liberal property is self-destructive.
Liberalism as the “Mansion on the Hill”
I want to suggest, however, that autonomy—even Dagan’s rehabilitated, communitarian conception of it—is a myth. Rather, the dependence and reliance (the vulnerability) against which autonomy is pitted is not pathogenic. It is not pathological. It is not an error to be fixed or a deficiency to be remedied.”
Dyal Chand’s concern is that Dagan’s vision does not ensure the level of collective restraint that will be required to pull us back from our current state of crisis. Some of the choices that Dagan argues should remain available to self-actualizing individuals, particularly those that allow for more individualized decision-making, may simply be unwise to keep available at a time when the pursuit of autonomy through property has produced serious collective harms.
This is part of our symposium on Hanoch Dagan’s book, A Liberal Theory of Property. For a concise version of Dagan’s argument, see this restatement. Image credit: Sam Abell, National Geographic. Hanoch Dagan has written a wonderful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book. Its publication could have hardly come at a more prescient time. Many observers and commentators rightly despair over the…
Dagan’s theory of property provides a novel way to make sense of the puzzle of incorporating diversity within uniformity of property rights, but his approach fails to capture the deep pluralism of property.
In this post, we specifically consider liberal defenses of private property in the “means of production”. This focus allows us to put the liberal defense of private property into dialogue with Marxism, with which it shares a broad humanistic heritage and many particular normative framings. Our focus also connects liberal property theory with a variety of later critiques of private property in certain productive resources, including those of the progressive and realist lawyers who generated American doctrines concerning “public utility” and other modes of resource governance that are neither strictly “private property” nor strictly matters of state control.