Saturday, July 21, 2007

Private property

Ah ! I was wondering what was the position of Christian religion on private property. Here is a quote from Pope Jean-Paul II, reported by Howard Zinn in "Passionate Declarations" (in Chapter "Communism and anti-communism"):

For instance, in 1981, Pope John Paul II issued a papal encyclical On Human Work, in which he said the Church believed in ownership and private property, but that "Christian tradition has never upheld this right as absolute and untouchable... The right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone."


Daniel said...

a noter que le droit de propriété est clairment énoncé dans la déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen

A ma connaissance la négation de ce droit a toujours été accompagné de crimes et de régimes dicatoriaux

Etonnant cette citation que tu reprends. Il me smeble que de nombreux passages dans la bible font état du fait que le vol est un péché. Donc reconnaissance implicite du droit de propriété

Cedric said...

I don't think there is any incompatibility between this declaration of Jean-Paul II (I have added the reference for the declaration in the post) and the condemnation of robbery. The Pope recognizes that this is a right, hence the condemnation of robbery, but that this right is subordinated to the right to common use. And for me this is not solely a matter of religious beliefs, but of common sense: in our society private property is achieved by the act of purchasing. If anything could be purchased, like water or the air you breath or anything indispensible to live, and that someone very rich could buy all of it, would you consider stealing those essential things from him a robbery ? This is when the right to common use comes before the right of private property.

So I think we should always keep this in mind, before invoquing the right to private property to justify governemental policies that are not meant toward the improvment of everybody's life but rather toward the improvment of some people's lives.

Daniel said...

A good example is about cultural goods

Music can be downloaded and shared without problem because information is replicable by essence.
And everybody need culture.

So what about property rigths of artists ?
For sure it is not robbery to copy music because it increases everybody satisfaction.
However this is not satisfying to support creation.
There is no good solution today...