Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

Proudhon: What is Property? PDF ´ Proudhon: What

Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) ❰BOOKS❯ ✫ Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) Author Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – Polishdarling.co.uk This is a translation of one of the classics of the traditions of anarchism and socialism Pierre Joseph Proudhon was a contemporary of Marx and one of the most acute, influential and subversive criti This is atranslation of one of the classics of the traditions of anarchism and socialism Pierre Joseph Proudhon was a contemporary of Marx and one of the most acute, influential and subversive critics of modern French and European society His What is Propertyproduced the answer Property is theft the book itself has become a classic of political thought through its wide ranging and deep reaching critique of private property as at once the essential institution of Western culture and the root cause of greed, corruption, political tyranny, social division and violation of natural law A Proudhon: What Kindle - critical and historical introduction situates Proudhon s diabolical work as he called it in the context of nineteenth century social and legal controversy and of the history of political thought in general.


10 thoughts on “Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

  1. Joshua Crompton Joshua Crompton says:

    When checking the I own this book option, I thought to myself, do I


  2. Eric Gulliver Eric Gulliver says:

    In just under 500 pages, P.J Proudhon seeks to prove his thesis that Property as defined by private and or capitalistic property and the social relations that it produces is a form of theft or robbery Secondly, Proudhon contends that the social relations created by Property are the root cause of exploitation, crime, and inequality in society As stated in the book, This book proved to be legnthy, convoluted, and perplexing As Proudhon commences in proving his thesis and accumulating evide In just under 500 pages, P.J Proudhon seeks to prove his thesis that Property as defined by private and or capitalistic property and the social relations that it produces is a form of theft or robbery Secondly, Proudhon contends that the social relations created by Property are the root cause of exploitation, crime, and inequality in society As stated in the book, This book proved to be legnthy, convoluted, and perplexing As Proudhon commences in proving his thesis and accumulating evidence, he does not hesitate to argue in tangent form and often takes a paragraph to release a passionate diatribe In short terms, Proudhons argument boiled down contends that society is inherently equal, and it is Property rather than possesion that abolishes this equality To be a proprietor or to own property distrupts the natural progression of simple economic principles that is an exact mathematical balance of labor, production, and consumption which is typically the foundation of society Without taking away from the argument, Proudhon defines and utilizes such terms as equality, liberty, justice, and right in loose manner Further, the economic terms used in the argument are both broad and general At times Proudhon will include precise mathematical calculations and then turn in the next sentence to philosophical insight Like most other Anarchist theorists if it is at all possible to call them that Proudhon is relentless in his convictions and convincing in the abstract While attempting to ground his argument in concrete examples, Proudhon s language and wording often lose their fervor and it becomes difficult to follow However, the argument itself is sensible, critical, and valid At its conclusion, I turned the last page with an understanding of the basic argument and limited agreement in terms of my newfound perspective of private property


  3. tom bomp tom bomp says:

    Not a book I d recommend as an introduction to anarchism or something like that but still a fascinating and fiery text Most notable on the very bad side is that women are referred to approximately twice, where they re called as different to men as men are to goats and it s said they should probably be excluded from society Christ This is symptomatic of a wider problem, where he doesn t really seem to consider the full implications of what he says past the abstract for example he seems t Not a book I d recommend as an introduction to anarchism or something like that but still a fascinating and fiery text Most notable on the very bad side is that women are referred to approximately twice, where they re called as different to men as men are to goats and it s said they should probably be excluded from society Christ This is symptomatic of a wider problem, where he doesn t really seem to consider the full implications of what he says past the abstract for example he seems to still believe in nations and the structure of French society post revolution, although he s not really explicit In addition, his reasoning is based to a very large extent on the ideas of external non human justice , liberty and reason, which is hard to accept now, especially as he says a lot of things are just or whatever with no reasoning, which makes his uncritical acceptance of his own society s ideals evenobvious and awkward.Despite this, I still enjoyed it and found his arguments interesting His demolition of the concept of property based on the arguments used in defence of it at the time is incredibly effective and not really diminished by changing defences since His style is passionate and, even though antiquated, inspiring His vision of society isn t really detailed and is pretty utopian but still good reading As a historical document, his adherence to the ideals of and regular references to the French Revolution as well as his clear rooting in that tradition is interesting overall pretty decent but very varied and what you get out of it depends on what you re expecting


  4. Michael Dorais Michael Dorais says:

    Although this book is an important historical work, I couldn t honestly rate it higher than OK, just because the style and presentation is wanting At times he comes across as hasty and arrogant But there are other times when he settles into awell paced and well argued discussion The best parts are in the middle The benefit for those who read this book is in the questions he raises about property, not in the answers One of the best ideas he presents regards the nature of the division o Although this book is an important historical work, I couldn t honestly rate it higher than OK, just because the style and presentation is wanting At times he comes across as hasty and arrogant But there are other times when he settles into awell paced and well argued discussion The best parts are in the middle The benefit for those who read this book is in the questions he raises about property, not in the answers One of the best ideas he presents regards the nature of the division of labor and the association with others that necessarily happens and how that should imply at least a sort of equality with regards to the benefit rather than the wide disparity that is often accepted as necessary under market capitalism There are probably much better works out there that cover similar ground, but for those interested in the intellectual history of capitalism and its critics, anarchism, and socialism, this may be a worthwhile read


  5. LDM LDM says:

    I have deep misgivings about this book On the one hand, Proudhon is a brilliant prose writer, captivating his reader regardless of the subject matter I agree with him on many points on the injustice of authority, on the evils of governance, on the necessity for an anarchic society but on many issues he is just flat out wrong The whole point of the treatise is to expose the injustice even the impossibility of property Throughout the treatise I was deeply confused about what exactly, to Pr I have deep misgivings about this book On the one hand, Proudhon is a brilliant prose writer, captivating his reader regardless of the subject matter I agree with him on many points on the injustice of authority, on the evils of governance, on the necessity for an anarchic society but on many issues he is just flat out wrong The whole point of the treatise is to expose the injustice even the impossibility of property Throughout the treatise I was deeply confused about what exactly, to Proudhon, property even is He does distinguish between possession and property, albeit haphazardly from what I can glean, property is most definitely found in raw materials and land His arguments against any kind of metaphysical right to materials land does indeed raise important questions, questions which even today libertarian theorists grapple over what does it mean to own, why is occupancy qua occupancy a progenitor of right Even Proudhon s study of the ontology of property is cogent and well argued However, I take most issue with his conclusions, his jarbled ad hominem invective against capitalists and proprietors and murderers, his questionable logic lauded as the acme of reason and rationality But most especially, I take issue with the fact that many of his arguments are supported by economic claims that are demonstrably nay, grossly false His theory of wages and prices, his theory of exchange, even his theory of value are all dusty old anachronisms long since discarded as medieval He can be excused for this, I suppose, considering economic science was in its infancy during his lifetime However, this overthrows his entire thesis, namely that property is theft and is an institution of oppression of man by man In conclusion, then, I say that the book is an interesting read, an interesting study into the early thinkers of the anarchist movement But as a defensible argument, as a serious issue to be raised in any intelligent debate, it is almost worthless the economics, the psychology, and the logic are all convoluted and outdated However, Proudhon does raise a very urgent issue where exactly does property originate and how does such a right become created in a metaphysical sense We accuse men and gods, the powerful of the earth and the forces of nature Instead of seeking the case of the evil in his mind and heart, man blames his masters, his rivals, his neighbours, and himself nations arm themselves and slay and exterminate each other, until equilibrium is restored by great depopulation, and peace rises again from the ashes of the combatants So loath is humanity to touch the customs of its ancestors and to change the laws given by the founders of cities and confirmed by the fidelity of posterity 19 20 Justice is not the work of the law on the contrary, the law is only the declaration and application of what is just in all circumstances where men have relations with one another If then the idea that we form of justice and right is badly defined, if it is imperfect or even false, it is clear that all our legislative applications will be wrong, our institutions vicious, our politics erroneous, and as a result there will be disorder and social chaos 23 Instead of applying themselves to the practical consequences of the principles of morality and government taught by the Word of God, his followers concerned themselves with speculations about his birth, his origin, his person, and his actions they discussed his parables and from the conflict of the most extravagant opinions upon unanswerable questions and texts which no one understood was born theology, which may be defined as the science of the infinitely absurd Liberty is inviolable I can neither sell nor alienate my liberty every contract, every condition of a contract which aims at the alienation or suspension of liberty, is null the slave who plants his foot on free soil instantly becomes free 37 Liberty is the original condition of man to renounce liberty is to renounce the quality of a man if we do this, how can we behave as men 38 One of two this is true either the proportional tax affords greater privilege to the larger taxpayers, or else it is unjust For if property is a natural rightall that belongs to me by virtue of this right is as sacred as my person it is my blood, my life, it is myself whoever touches it offends the apple of my eye My income of 100,000 francs is as inviolable as the shopgirl s daily wage of 75 centimes, my suite of rooms as her attic Taxes are not apportioned according to strength, size, or skill noshould they be levied in proportion to property 39 When religion commands us to help our brothers, it bases this on charity, not on a principle of legislation The obligation of benevolence imposed on me by Christian morality cannot be imposed as a political tax for the benefit of any person, still less a poor house I will give alms when I want to do so, when I feel for the unhappiness of others that sympathy about which philosophers talk and in which I hardly believe I will not be forced to give them 40 Yes, our civil statea State which was at first despotism, then monarchy, then aristocracy, today democracy, and always tyranny 60 Whoever says commerce says exchange of equal values, for if the values are not equal and the injured party perceives it, he will not consent to the exchange, and there will be no commerce 103 Benevolence degenerates into tyranny and admiration into servility friendship is the daughter of equality O my friends Let me live among you without emulation and without glory let equality bring us together and fate assign us our places Let me die without knowing to whom among you I owe the most esteem Friendship is precious to the hearts of the children of men Generosity, gratitudeand friendship are three distinct shades of a single sentiment which I will call equity or social proportionality Equity does not change justice but always taking equity as the base, it adds to it esteem and thereby forms in man a third degree of sociability Equality makes it at once our duty and our pleasure to aid the weak who need us and to make them our equals to pay to the strong a just tribute of gratitude and honour without making ourselves slaves to them to cherish our neighbours, friends, and equals for what we receive from them, even by right of exchange Equity is sociability raised to its ideal through reason and justice its most usual manifestation is urbanity or politeness, which among certain nations sums up in a single work almost all the social duties 182 83 The welfare of the oppressed isimportant than the possible embarrassment to administrators 187 The science of society, like all human sciences, will be forever incomplete The depth and variety of the questions which it embraces are infinite We hardly know the ABCs of this science, as is proved by the face that we have not yet emerged from the period of systems and have not ceased to put the authority of the majority in place of facts 188 The inconveniences of communism are so obvious that its critics never had to employ much eloquence to arouse disgust with it The irreparability of the injustice it causes, the violence it does to attractions and repulsions, the iron yoke it fastens upon the will, the moral torture it inflicts on the conscience, the debilitating effect it has on society, and, in a word, the pious and stupid uniformity it enforces on the free, active, reasoning, unsubdued personality of man all these have shocked common sense and irrevocably condemned communism 195 96 But, as some of my younger readers may protest, you are a republican Republican, yes, but this word defines nothing Res publica that is, the public thing Now, whoever is concerned with public affairs, under whatever form of government, may call himself a republican Even kings are republicans Well, then, are you a democrat No What You are a monarchist No A constitutionalist God forbid You are then an aristocrat Not at all You want a mixed government Still Less So then what are you I am an anarchistalthough a firm friend of order, I am, in every sense of the term, an anarchist 204 05 Neither heredity, election, universal suffrage, the excellence of the sovereign, nor the consecration of religion and of time can make royalty legitimate In whatever form it appears, monarchic, oligarchic, or democratic, royalty, or the government of man by man, is illegal and absurd 207


  6. Войвода Войвода says:

    What is Property 1840 is a must read for those in need of arguments for the abolition of private property When reading this book, it is important to keep in mind that Proudhon is not exclusively dealing with modern bourgeois property as an economic category, but mostly with the juridico philosophical concept of property i.e a notion that transcends epochs as mainly exemplified by modern bourgeois property in the sense of the Napoleonic Code That is not to say that he understands priv What is Property 1840 is a must read for those in need of arguments for the abolition of private property When reading this book, it is important to keep in mind that Proudhon is not exclusively dealing with modern bourgeois property as an economic category, but mostly with the juridico philosophical concept of property i.e a notion that transcends epochs as mainly exemplified by modern bourgeois property in the sense of the Napoleonic Code That is not to say that he understands private property as a pre existing eternal idea, but that the power of accumulation possessed by property is to be analyzed a posteriori as the cause of the downfall and death of the most recent societies In other words, Proudhon understands all kinds of private property over time as sharing the same fundamental characteristic being a form of wealth acquired by an idle individual through another s labor This leads Proudhon to reduce all sorts of profit, rent, interest, benefit, etc., to what he calls the unjustified droit d aubaine , which he famously illustrates in the parable of the grenadiers Ch III 5 For Proudhon, it is only this undeserved droit d aubaine that is theft In his later Theory of Property 1865 , he explicitly states that what should be strived for is liquidation of property as property theft , and that only property liberty should remain, i.e property produced by one s own labor that furnishes one with necessary basic security The reason for this is to be found in his General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century 1851 The people, even those who are Socialists, whatever they may say, want to be owners and, if I may offer myself as a witness, I can say that, after ten years of careful examination, I find the feelings of the masses on this point stronger andresistant than on any other question I have succeeded in shaking their opinions, but have made no impression on their sentiments And one thing is to be noted which shows how far, in the minds of the people, individual sovereignty is identified with collective sovereignty, that theground the principles of democracy have gained, theI have seen the working classes, both in the city and country, interpret these principles favorably to individual ownership It goes without saying that this level headed observation looks at first sight like a terrible blow for socialism If socialism is to be built upon the negation of property, and if the masses i.e the peasants, since the working class as Marx understood it did not exist in France at that time truly have such a deep rooted instinct of property , then either socialism has no future, or property should exist one way or another It is the latter thesis that he would develop in his subsequent works on property Therefore, I d recommend to read them too What is Property suffers from many weaknesses that already have been mentioned by other reviewers Curiously, Proudhon coined the term scientific socialism and introduced the notion of surplus value, which Engels thought to be Marx s discovery, 27 years before Capital


  7. Kerem Kerem says:

    This is a fascinating book overall Proudhon argues passionately against property note, NOT possession , from all different angles including economic, philosophical and ethical He is very clear with structuring his ideas, talks noor less than he needs to, and takes stance against a good number of other philosophers from all ages He also gives a good overview of historical development of possession, property and events surrounding these including revolutions Strongly recommend it tho This is a fascinating book overall Proudhon argues passionately against property note, NOT possession , from all different angles including economic, philosophical and ethical He is very clear with structuring his ideas, talks noor less than he needs to, and takes stance against a good number of other philosophers from all ages He also gives a good overview of historical development of possession, property and events surrounding these including revolutions Strongly recommend it though don t take that Easy Reading Series on the cover of the book literally if you really want to enjoy it


  8. Otto Lehto Otto Lehto says:

    Pierre Joseph was a troll He used words to hurt people and institutions often unfairly He loved every moment of it He knew how to upset good society and how to gain notoriety, and his writing style was designed to make him hated among the right circles, and admired in the wrong ones As an economic treatise, What is Property is laughable As a pamphlet from an agent provocateur, it is a job well done His economic analysis is confused, outdated and fascinatingly destructive The treatise, Pierre Joseph was a troll He used words to hurt people and institutions often unfairly He loved every moment of it He knew how to upset good society and how to gain notoriety, and his writing style was designed to make him hated among the right circles, and admired in the wrong ones As an economic treatise, What is Property is laughable As a pamphlet from an agent provocateur, it is a job well done His economic analysis is confused, outdated and fascinatingly destructive The treatise, full of wild assertions and simply faulty premises, contains a few original and wonderful ideas, still relevant for today, but they are wrapped in paradoxes such as the famous Property is Theft and the evenmysterious Property is Impossible The author evinces a poor understanding of basic economic theory His grasp of history is slightly better, and the best parts of the book aside from the rhetorical flourish of his pen are the asides in the history of property ownership in various societies But an academic treatise this is not it is literary terrorism Proudhon attacks with a blunt mace, on whose bloodied side he has attached the caricatured pictures of his enemies other philosophers, communists, liberals, lawyers, politicians, landowners, aristocrats, bourgeois elites in order to raise hell and facilitate societal chaos.Proudhon, ever haughty, justifies his terrorism with the loftiness of his goals a society without inequality, illegitimate authority and oppression Like the liberals, he extols the virtues of liberty Even though his main target is the propertied class and their lackeys, he offers a biting criticism of communism and other rising trends of collectivism He hated everyone, including his friends.But the biggest fault of the book is that, after demolishing everything and everybody, he cannot offer a prudent analysis of the ways in which his theory of the right of possession under perfect equality could be institutionalized, turned into practice Even anarchism needs its institutional analysis, even if the institutions it calls for cannot be state managed or run Purely destructive criticism is not enough At the end of the book, Proudhon acknowledges as much, but shrugs it off Perhaps he WAS right to shrug it off, since the book would not have been the sensation it was, had it been pruned of its outrageous assertiveness, philosophical sophistry and rhetorical paradoxes.The destructiveness of his analysis anticipates the nihilism of contemporary attacks on property on the left But his true friends were the Bohemian pranksters of the Parisian salons of his time and the teenage cyber trolls of today s millennial generation Whether in the 19th Century, or in the 21st, there is a class of people let us call them trolls, nihilists, social engineers or mad geniuses who like to attack sacred cows, from a privileged position, as a self selected vocation Proudhon s verbosely violent treatise was meant to be, and should be read as, a piece of art, a big FU to society, rather than a fully serious philosophical project to be dissected in the halls of academia.It is hard to pin down what Proudhon actually thought, since he preferred to hide behind obfuscations And his positions are rather all over the place Perhaps because of his need to shock, perhaps because of non diagnosed autism, he uses reductio ad absurdum to the point of madness Second tactic, perhaps because of Hegelian influence, was to see the two contradictory sides to every issue the light and the dark His rhetorical flourish should be seen dialectically, as the attempt at a reconciliation of opposing forces Property , for Proudhon, stands for all that is bad in ownership and possession, contrary to the common usage of the word It should be pointed out, in other words, that ownership as such was NOT Proudhon s enemy despite the impression But,often than not, the paradoxical nature of his assertions was not because of any lofty philosophical position the owl of Minerva soaring above issues, observing the world from a disinterested perspective, carefully untangling the so called contradictions of mere mortals but simply the result of carefully crafted intellectual charlatanism The treatise, half sincere, half joke, is a monstrosity, a freak of nature Proudhon s anarchism is not ready made he fishes for ideas, tries them out on the page His anarchism is watered down by halfhearted monarchism his liberalism by halfhearted socialism his egalitarianism by his recognition of unequal natural talents his attack on property by his recognition of the need to grant people free access to possessions Proudhon wants to have his cake and eat it too Let him eat cake, then, quoth he proprietor Overall, there is much to deplore in the hucksterism of What is Property It is a morally dubious, economically unsound and philosophically fraudulent thesis But it hits a nerve Still does today It touches on the important questions of our economic order what is the foundation of our unequal status in life What is the role of the state in determining economic and social outcomes What is the role of court intellectuals in justifying established wisdom at the expense of the poor and the oppressed Can property be regulated without destroying it Can we, ever, live without it Even if Proudhon cannot be taken entirely seriously, he discovered something absolutely vital a criticism of property that must be taken seriously even by the staunchest defenders of property Anarchism, even of the left variety although the anarchists of the right have certainly done a better job articulating their ideals , is one of the most important and under explored intellectual alleys of the last couple hundred years, since it challenges the basic assumptions of our life, and does so from the perspective of an honest lover of truth while giggling all the way the bank How on Earth so ridiculous a troll ever stumbled upon something so grand is a cosmic mystery


  9. Karol Ujueta Rojas Karol Ujueta Rojas says:

    Todos los campesinos deber an tener conocimiento de lo que dice este libro This book changed my perception of what I usually take for normal and ordinary about being the owner of something The entire book is about Proudhon explaining why being the owner of something is basically a crime, to cheat, to steal and he does it in an impressive and eloquent way I never once got bored reading this book, his way of convincing the reader is impressive, no wonder this book caused such outrage for some a Todos los campesinos deber an tener conocimiento de lo que dice este libro This book changed my perception of what I usually take for normal and ordinary about being the owner of something The entire book is about Proudhon explaining why being the owner of something is basically a crime, to cheat, to steal and he does it in an impressive and eloquent way I never once got bored reading this book, his way of convincing the reader is impressive, no wonder this book caused such outrage for some and gave others hope Proudhon is the first person ever to declare himself an anarchist and this book explains his motivations for creating this political label


  10. Juan Amiguet Vercher Juan Amiguet Vercher says:

    Very few times you find a book that describes the sources of current problems, so thoroughly described and analysed that is over a century old This is one of them Worth reading for anyone with an interest in the origins of the current economic crisis or a good example of anarchist thought.


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10 thoughts on “Proudhon: What is Property? (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

  1. Joshua Crompton Joshua Crompton says:

    When checking the I own this book option, I thought to myself, do I


  2. Eric Gulliver Eric Gulliver says:

    In just under 500 pages, P.J Proudhon seeks to prove his thesis that Property as defined by private and or capitalistic property and the social relations that it produces is a form of theft or robbery Secondly, Proudhon contends that the social relations created by Property are the root cause of exploitation, crime, and inequality in society As stated in the book, This book proved to be legnthy, convoluted, and perplexing As Proudhon commences in proving his thesis and accumulating evide In just under 500 pages, P.J Proudhon seeks to prove his thesis that Property as defined by private and or capitalistic property and the social relations that it produces is a form of theft or robbery Secondly, Proudhon contends that the social relations created by Property are the root cause of exploitation, crime, and inequality in society As stated in the book, This book proved to be legnthy, convoluted, and perplexing As Proudhon commences in proving his thesis and accumulating evidence, he does not hesitate to argue in tangent form and often takes a paragraph to release a passionate diatribe In short terms, Proudhons argument boiled down contends that society is inherently equal, and it is Property rather than possesion that abolishes this equality To be a proprietor or to own property distrupts the natural progression of simple economic principles that is an exact mathematical balance of labor, production, and consumption which is typically the foundation of society Without taking away from the argument, Proudhon defines and utilizes such terms as equality, liberty, justice, and right in loose manner Further, the economic terms used in the argument are both broad and general At times Proudhon will include precise mathematical calculations and then turn in the next sentence to philosophical insight Like most other Anarchist theorists if it is at all possible to call them that Proudhon is relentless in his convictions and convincing in the abstract While attempting to ground his argument in concrete examples, Proudhon s language and wording often lose their fervor and it becomes difficult to follow However, the argument itself is sensible, critical, and valid At its conclusion, I turned the last page with an understanding of the basic argument and limited agreement in terms of my newfound perspective of private property


  3. tom bomp tom bomp says:

    Not a book I d recommend as an introduction to anarchism or something like that but still a fascinating and fiery text Most notable on the very bad side is that women are referred to approximately twice, where they re called as different to men as men are to goats and it s said they should probably be excluded from society Christ This is symptomatic of a wider problem, where he doesn t really seem to consider the full implications of what he says past the abstract for example he seems t Not a book I d recommend as an introduction to anarchism or something like that but still a fascinating and fiery text Most notable on the very bad side is that women are referred to approximately twice, where they re called as different to men as men are to goats and it s said they should probably be excluded from society Christ This is symptomatic of a wider problem, where he doesn t really seem to consider the full implications of what he says past the abstract for example he seems to still believe in nations and the structure of French society post revolution, although he s not really explicit In addition, his reasoning is based to a very large extent on the ideas of external non human justice , liberty and reason, which is hard to accept now, especially as he says a lot of things are just or whatever with no reasoning, which makes his uncritical acceptance of his own society s ideals evenobvious and awkward.Despite this, I still enjoyed it and found his arguments interesting His demolition of the concept of property based on the arguments used in defence of it at the time is incredibly effective and not really diminished by changing defences since His style is passionate and, even though antiquated, inspiring His vision of society isn t really detailed and is pretty utopian but still good reading As a historical document, his adherence to the ideals of and regular references to the French Revolution as well as his clear rooting in that tradition is interesting overall pretty decent but very varied and what you get out of it depends on what you re expecting


  4. Michael Dorais Michael Dorais says:

    Although this book is an important historical work, I couldn t honestly rate it higher than OK, just because the style and presentation is wanting At times he comes across as hasty and arrogant But there are other times when he settles into awell paced and well argued discussion The best parts are in the middle The benefit for those who read this book is in the questions he raises about property, not in the answers One of the best ideas he presents regards the nature of the division o Although this book is an important historical work, I couldn t honestly rate it higher than OK, just because the style and presentation is wanting At times he comes across as hasty and arrogant But there are other times when he settles into awell paced and well argued discussion The best parts are in the middle The benefit for those who read this book is in the questions he raises about property, not in the answers One of the best ideas he presents regards the nature of the division of labor and the association with others that necessarily happens and how that should imply at least a sort of equality with regards to the benefit rather than the wide disparity that is often accepted as necessary under market capitalism There are probably much better works out there that cover similar ground, but for those interested in the intellectual history of capitalism and its critics, anarchism, and socialism, this may be a worthwhile read


  5. LDM LDM says:

    I have deep misgivings about this book On the one hand, Proudhon is a brilliant prose writer, captivating his reader regardless of the subject matter I agree with him on many points on the injustice of authority, on the evils of governance, on the necessity for an anarchic society but on many issues he is just flat out wrong The whole point of the treatise is to expose the injustice even the impossibility of property Throughout the treatise I was deeply confused about what exactly, to Pr I have deep misgivings about this book On the one hand, Proudhon is a brilliant prose writer, captivating his reader regardless of the subject matter I agree with him on many points on the injustice of authority, on the evils of governance, on the necessity for an anarchic society but on many issues he is just flat out wrong The whole point of the treatise is to expose the injustice even the impossibility of property Throughout the treatise I was deeply confused about what exactly, to Proudhon, property even is He does distinguish between possession and property, albeit haphazardly from what I can glean, property is most definitely found in raw materials and land His arguments against any kind of metaphysical right to materials land does indeed raise important questions, questions which even today libertarian theorists grapple over what does it mean to own, why is occupancy qua occupancy a progenitor of right Even Proudhon s study of the ontology of property is cogent and well argued However, I take most issue with his conclusions, his jarbled ad hominem invective against capitalists and proprietors and murderers, his questionable logic lauded as the acme of reason and rationality But most especially, I take issue with the fact that many of his arguments are supported by economic claims that are demonstrably nay, grossly false His theory of wages and prices, his theory of exchange, even his theory of value are all dusty old anachronisms long since discarded as medieval He can be excused for this, I suppose, considering economic science was in its infancy during his lifetime However, this overthrows his entire thesis, namely that property is theft and is an institution of oppression of man by man In conclusion, then, I say that the book is an interesting read, an interesting study into the early thinkers of the anarchist movement But as a defensible argument, as a serious issue to be raised in any intelligent debate, it is almost worthless the economics, the psychology, and the logic are all convoluted and outdated However, Proudhon does raise a very urgent issue where exactly does property originate and how does such a right become created in a metaphysical sense We accuse men and gods, the powerful of the earth and the forces of nature Instead of seeking the case of the evil in his mind and heart, man blames his masters, his rivals, his neighbours, and himself nations arm themselves and slay and exterminate each other, until equilibrium is restored by great depopulation, and peace rises again from the ashes of the combatants So loath is humanity to touch the customs of its ancestors and to change the laws given by the founders of cities and confirmed by the fidelity of posterity 19 20 Justice is not the work of the law on the contrary, the law is only the declaration and application of what is just in all circumstances where men have relations with one another If then the idea that we form of justice and right is badly defined, if it is imperfect or even false, it is clear that all our legislative applications will be wrong, our institutions vicious, our politics erroneous, and as a result there will be disorder and social chaos 23 Instead of applying themselves to the practical consequences of the principles of morality and government taught by the Word of God, his followers concerned themselves with speculations about his birth, his origin, his person, and his actions they discussed his parables and from the conflict of the most extravagant opinions upon unanswerable questions and texts which no one understood was born theology, which may be defined as the science of the infinitely absurd Liberty is inviolable I can neither sell nor alienate my liberty every contract, every condition of a contract which aims at the alienation or suspension of liberty, is null the slave who plants his foot on free soil instantly becomes free 37 Liberty is the original condition of man to renounce liberty is to renounce the quality of a man if we do this, how can we behave as men 38 One of two this is true either the proportional tax affords greater privilege to the larger taxpayers, or else it is unjust For if property is a natural rightall that belongs to me by virtue of this right is as sacred as my person it is my blood, my life, it is myself whoever touches it offends the apple of my eye My income of 100,000 francs is as inviolable as the shopgirl s daily wage of 75 centimes, my suite of rooms as her attic Taxes are not apportioned according to strength, size, or skill noshould they be levied in proportion to property 39 When religion commands us to help our brothers, it bases this on charity, not on a principle of legislation The obligation of benevolence imposed on me by Christian morality cannot be imposed as a political tax for the benefit of any person, still less a poor house I will give alms when I want to do so, when I feel for the unhappiness of others that sympathy about which philosophers talk and in which I hardly believe I will not be forced to give them 40 Yes, our civil statea State which was at first despotism, then monarchy, then aristocracy, today democracy, and always tyranny 60 Whoever says commerce says exchange of equal values, for if the values are not equal and the injured party perceives it, he will not consent to the exchange, and there will be no commerce 103 Benevolence degenerates into tyranny and admiration into servility friendship is the daughter of equality O my friends Let me live among you without emulation and without glory let equality bring us together and fate assign us our places Let me die without knowing to whom among you I owe the most esteem Friendship is precious to the hearts of the children of men Generosity, gratitudeand friendship are three distinct shades of a single sentiment which I will call equity or social proportionality Equity does not change justice but always taking equity as the base, it adds to it esteem and thereby forms in man a third degree of sociability Equality makes it at once our duty and our pleasure to aid the weak who need us and to make them our equals to pay to the strong a just tribute of gratitude and honour without making ourselves slaves to them to cherish our neighbours, friends, and equals for what we receive from them, even by right of exchange Equity is sociability raised to its ideal through reason and justice its most usual manifestation is urbanity or politeness, which among certain nations sums up in a single work almost all the social duties 182 83 The welfare of the oppressed isimportant than the possible embarrassment to administrators 187 The science of society, like all human sciences, will be forever incomplete The depth and variety of the questions which it embraces are infinite We hardly know the ABCs of this science, as is proved by the face that we have not yet emerged from the period of systems and have not ceased to put the authority of the majority in place of facts 188 The inconveniences of communism are so obvious that its critics never had to employ much eloquence to arouse disgust with it The irreparability of the injustice it causes, the violence it does to attractions and repulsions, the iron yoke it fastens upon the will, the moral torture it inflicts on the conscience, the debilitating effect it has on society, and, in a word, the pious and stupid uniformity it enforces on the free, active, reasoning, unsubdued personality of man all these have shocked common sense and irrevocably condemned communism 195 96 But, as some of my younger readers may protest, you are a republican Republican, yes, but this word defines nothing Res publica that is, the public thing Now, whoever is concerned with public affairs, under whatever form of government, may call himself a republican Even kings are republicans Well, then, are you a democrat No What You are a monarchist No A constitutionalist God forbid You are then an aristocrat Not at all You want a mixed government Still Less So then what are you I am an anarchistalthough a firm friend of order, I am, in every sense of the term, an anarchist 204 05 Neither heredity, election, universal suffrage, the excellence of the sovereign, nor the consecration of religion and of time can make royalty legitimate In whatever form it appears, monarchic, oligarchic, or democratic, royalty, or the government of man by man, is illegal and absurd 207


  6. Войвода Войвода says:

    What is Property 1840 is a must read for those in need of arguments for the abolition of private property When reading this book, it is important to keep in mind that Proudhon is not exclusively dealing with modern bourgeois property as an economic category, but mostly with the juridico philosophical concept of property i.e a notion that transcends epochs as mainly exemplified by modern bourgeois property in the sense of the Napoleonic Code That is not to say that he understands priv What is Property 1840 is a must read for those in need of arguments for the abolition of private property When reading this book, it is important to keep in mind that Proudhon is not exclusively dealing with modern bourgeois property as an economic category, but mostly with the juridico philosophical concept of property i.e a notion that transcends epochs as mainly exemplified by modern bourgeois property in the sense of the Napoleonic Code That is not to say that he understands private property as a pre existing eternal idea, but that the power of accumulation possessed by property is to be analyzed a posteriori as the cause of the downfall and death of the most recent societies In other words, Proudhon understands all kinds of private property over time as sharing the same fundamental characteristic being a form of wealth acquired by an idle individual through another s labor This leads Proudhon to reduce all sorts of profit, rent, interest, benefit, etc., to what he calls the unjustified droit d aubaine , which he famously illustrates in the parable of the grenadiers Ch III 5 For Proudhon, it is only this undeserved droit d aubaine that is theft In his later Theory of Property 1865 , he explicitly states that what should be strived for is liquidation of property as property theft , and that only property liberty should remain, i.e property produced by one s own labor that furnishes one with necessary basic security The reason for this is to be found in his General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century 1851 The people, even those who are Socialists, whatever they may say, want to be owners and, if I may offer myself as a witness, I can say that, after ten years of careful examination, I find the feelings of the masses on this point stronger andresistant than on any other question I have succeeded in shaking their opinions, but have made no impression on their sentiments And one thing is to be noted which shows how far, in the minds of the people, individual sovereignty is identified with collective sovereignty, that theground the principles of democracy have gained, theI have seen the working classes, both in the city and country, interpret these principles favorably to individual ownership It goes without saying that this level headed observation looks at first sight like a terrible blow for socialism If socialism is to be built upon the negation of property, and if the masses i.e the peasants, since the working class as Marx understood it did not exist in France at that time truly have such a deep rooted instinct of property , then either socialism has no future, or property should exist one way or another It is the latter thesis that he would develop in his subsequent works on property Therefore, I d recommend to read them too What is Property suffers from many weaknesses that already have been mentioned by other reviewers Curiously, Proudhon coined the term scientific socialism and introduced the notion of surplus value, which Engels thought to be Marx s discovery, 27 years before Capital


  7. Kerem Kerem says:

    This is a fascinating book overall Proudhon argues passionately against property note, NOT possession , from all different angles including economic, philosophical and ethical He is very clear with structuring his ideas, talks noor less than he needs to, and takes stance against a good number of other philosophers from all ages He also gives a good overview of historical development of possession, property and events surrounding these including revolutions Strongly recommend it tho This is a fascinating book overall Proudhon argues passionately against property note, NOT possession , from all different angles including economic, philosophical and ethical He is very clear with structuring his ideas, talks noor less than he needs to, and takes stance against a good number of other philosophers from all ages He also gives a good overview of historical development of possession, property and events surrounding these including revolutions Strongly recommend it though don t take that Easy Reading Series on the cover of the book literally if you really want to enjoy it


  8. Otto Lehto Otto Lehto says:

    Pierre Joseph was a troll He used words to hurt people and institutions often unfairly He loved every moment of it He knew how to upset good society and how to gain notoriety, and his writing style was designed to make him hated among the right circles, and admired in the wrong ones As an economic treatise, What is Property is laughable As a pamphlet from an agent provocateur, it is a job well done His economic analysis is confused, outdated and fascinatingly destructive The treatise, Pierre Joseph was a troll He used words to hurt people and institutions often unfairly He loved every moment of it He knew how to upset good society and how to gain notoriety, and his writing style was designed to make him hated among the right circles, and admired in the wrong ones As an economic treatise, What is Property is laughable As a pamphlet from an agent provocateur, it is a job well done His economic analysis is confused, outdated and fascinatingly destructive The treatise, full of wild assertions and simply faulty premises, contains a few original and wonderful ideas, still relevant for today, but they are wrapped in paradoxes such as the famous Property is Theft and the evenmysterious Property is Impossible The author evinces a poor understanding of basic economic theory His grasp of history is slightly better, and the best parts of the book aside from the rhetorical flourish of his pen are the asides in the history of property ownership in various societies But an academic treatise this is not it is literary terrorism Proudhon attacks with a blunt mace, on whose bloodied side he has attached the caricatured pictures of his enemies other philosophers, communists, liberals, lawyers, politicians, landowners, aristocrats, bourgeois elites in order to raise hell and facilitate societal chaos.Proudhon, ever haughty, justifies his terrorism with the loftiness of his goals a society without inequality, illegitimate authority and oppression Like the liberals, he extols the virtues of liberty Even though his main target is the propertied class and their lackeys, he offers a biting criticism of communism and other rising trends of collectivism He hated everyone, including his friends.But the biggest fault of the book is that, after demolishing everything and everybody, he cannot offer a prudent analysis of the ways in which his theory of the right of possession under perfect equality could be institutionalized, turned into practice Even anarchism needs its institutional analysis, even if the institutions it calls for cannot be state managed or run Purely destructive criticism is not enough At the end of the book, Proudhon acknowledges as much, but shrugs it off Perhaps he WAS right to shrug it off, since the book would not have been the sensation it was, had it been pruned of its outrageous assertiveness, philosophical sophistry and rhetorical paradoxes.The destructiveness of his analysis anticipates the nihilism of contemporary attacks on property on the left But his true friends were the Bohemian pranksters of the Parisian salons of his time and the teenage cyber trolls of today s millennial generation Whether in the 19th Century, or in the 21st, there is a class of people let us call them trolls, nihilists, social engineers or mad geniuses who like to attack sacred cows, from a privileged position, as a self selected vocation Proudhon s verbosely violent treatise was meant to be, and should be read as, a piece of art, a big FU to society, rather than a fully serious philosophical project to be dissected in the halls of academia.It is hard to pin down what Proudhon actually thought, since he preferred to hide behind obfuscations And his positions are rather all over the place Perhaps because of his need to shock, perhaps because of non diagnosed autism, he uses reductio ad absurdum to the point of madness Second tactic, perhaps because of Hegelian influence, was to see the two contradictory sides to every issue the light and the dark His rhetorical flourish should be seen dialectically, as the attempt at a reconciliation of opposing forces Property , for Proudhon, stands for all that is bad in ownership and possession, contrary to the common usage of the word It should be pointed out, in other words, that ownership as such was NOT Proudhon s enemy despite the impression But,often than not, the paradoxical nature of his assertions was not because of any lofty philosophical position the owl of Minerva soaring above issues, observing the world from a disinterested perspective, carefully untangling the so called contradictions of mere mortals but simply the result of carefully crafted intellectual charlatanism The treatise, half sincere, half joke, is a monstrosity, a freak of nature Proudhon s anarchism is not ready made he fishes for ideas, tries them out on the page His anarchism is watered down by halfhearted monarchism his liberalism by halfhearted socialism his egalitarianism by his recognition of unequal natural talents his attack on property by his recognition of the need to grant people free access to possessions Proudhon wants to have his cake and eat it too Let him eat cake, then, quoth he proprietor Overall, there is much to deplore in the hucksterism of What is Property It is a morally dubious, economically unsound and philosophically fraudulent thesis But it hits a nerve Still does today It touches on the important questions of our economic order what is the foundation of our unequal status in life What is the role of the state in determining economic and social outcomes What is the role of court intellectuals in justifying established wisdom at the expense of the poor and the oppressed Can property be regulated without destroying it Can we, ever, live without it Even if Proudhon cannot be taken entirely seriously, he discovered something absolutely vital a criticism of property that must be taken seriously even by the staunchest defenders of property Anarchism, even of the left variety although the anarchists of the right have certainly done a better job articulating their ideals , is one of the most important and under explored intellectual alleys of the last couple hundred years, since it challenges the basic assumptions of our life, and does so from the perspective of an honest lover of truth while giggling all the way the bank How on Earth so ridiculous a troll ever stumbled upon something so grand is a cosmic mystery


  9. Karol Ujueta Rojas Karol Ujueta Rojas says:

    Todos los campesinos deber an tener conocimiento de lo que dice este libro This book changed my perception of what I usually take for normal and ordinary about being the owner of something The entire book is about Proudhon explaining why being the owner of something is basically a crime, to cheat, to steal and he does it in an impressive and eloquent way I never once got bored reading this book, his way of convincing the reader is impressive, no wonder this book caused such outrage for some a Todos los campesinos deber an tener conocimiento de lo que dice este libro This book changed my perception of what I usually take for normal and ordinary about being the owner of something The entire book is about Proudhon explaining why being the owner of something is basically a crime, to cheat, to steal and he does it in an impressive and eloquent way I never once got bored reading this book, his way of convincing the reader is impressive, no wonder this book caused such outrage for some and gave others hope Proudhon is the first person ever to declare himself an anarchist and this book explains his motivations for creating this political label


  10. Juan Amiguet Vercher Juan Amiguet Vercher says:

    Very few times you find a book that describes the sources of current problems, so thoroughly described and analysed that is over a century old This is one of them Worth reading for anyone with an interest in the origins of the current economic crisis or a good example of anarchist thought.


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