Tuesday, 19 November 2019

"In Ancient Greece private property was recognised and protected by the State as the basis of society..." #QotD


"Nineteenth-century historians, committed to the theory of primitive communism [i.e., that society had evolved into private property out of a situation of communal "ownership"] assumed, without examining the data or else misinterpreting them to suit their preconceptions, that ancient Greece knew only communal property in land...
    "[Yet] in the words of Jules Toutain, "If we adhere to Homer and Hesiod, we find that all ownership is private, so far as arable land is concerned .... The Anglo-American historian of antiquity Moses Finley concurs: 'In the Homeric poems, the property regime, in particular, was already fully established ... The regime that we see in the poems was, above all, one of private ownership ...
    "According to Finley, the Homeric world knew 'no feudal, or capably conditional tenures.' In Ancient Greece 'private property [was] recognised and protected by the State as the basis of society' and the state very rarely interfered with the 'free play of economic forces and economic initiative.' It is precisely because private property was prevalent in classical Greece that Plato and Aristotle devoted to much attention to it."

          ~ Richard Pipes, from his book Property and Freedom.

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