What is Property?

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What is Property? Or, An Inquiry Into The Principle of Right and of Government  (1876) 
by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, translated by Benjamin Ricketson Tucker
What is Property - P. J. Proudhon.png

P. J. Proudhon

The

Works of P. J. Proudhon.






Volume I.

What is Property?





Published and Sold by
Benj. R. Tucker, Princeton, Mass.
1876.

What is Property?


First Memoir.


An inquiry into the principle of right
and of government.



by
P. J. Proudhon.



Adversus hostem aeter1ta auctoritas esto.
Against the enemy, revendication is eternal.
Law of the Twelve Tables.



Translated from the French by
Benj. R. Tucker.




Published and Sold by
Benj. R. Tucker, Princeton, Mass.
1876.

Cambridge:
Press of John Wilson & Son.

Contents.


  1. Page.
  2. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    ix
  3. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1

First Memoir.

  1. Method pursued in this Work.—The Idea of a Revolution
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    11
  1. Property considered as a Natural Right.—Occupation and Civil Law as Efficient Bases of Property.—Definitions
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    43
  2. § 1. Property as a Natural Right
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    44
  3. § 2. Occupation as the Title to Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    54
  4. § 3. Civil Law as the Foundation and Sanction of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    70
  1. Labor as the Efficient Cause of the Domain of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    84
  2. § 1. The Land cannot be appropriated
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    88
  3. § 2. Universal Consent no Justification of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    93
  4. § 3. Prescription gives no Title to Property.
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    94
  5. § 4. Labor.—That Labor has no Inherent Power to appropriate Natural Wealth
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    103
  6. § 5. That Labor leads to Equality of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    110
  7. § 6. That in Society all Wages are Equal
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    121
  8. § 7. That Inequality of Powers is the Necessary Condition of Equality of Fortunes
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    128
  9. § 8. That, from the stand-point of Justice, Labor destroys Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    148
  1. That Property is Impossible
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    151
  2. Demonstration. Axiom.
    Property is the Right of Increase claimed by the Proprietor over any thing which he has stamped as his own
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    153
  3. First Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because it demands Something for Nothing
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    159
  4. Second Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because, wherever it exists, Production costs more than it is worth
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    168
  5. Third Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because, with a given Capital, Production is proportional to Labor, not to Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    172
  6. Fourth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because it is Homicide
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    177
  7. Fifth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because, if it exists, Society devours itself
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    183
  8. Appendix to the Fifth Proposition
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    195
  9. Sixth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because it is the Mother of Tyranny
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    207
  10. Seventh Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because, in consuming its Receipts, it loses them; in hoarding them, it nullifies them; and, in using them as Capital, it turns them against Production
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    209
  11. Eighth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because its Power of Accumulation is infinite, and is exercised only over Finite Quantities
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    215
  12. Ninth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because it is powerless against Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    217
  13. Tenth Proposition.
    Property is Impossible, because it is the Negation of Equality
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    222
  1. Psychological Exposition of the Idea of Justice and Injustice, and a Determination of the Principle of Government and of Right
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    224

Part I.

  1. § 1. Of the Moral Sense in Man and the Animals
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    224
  2. § 2. Of the First and Second Degrees of Sociability
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    230
  3. § 3. Of the Third Degree of Sociability
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    238

Part II.

  1. § 1. Of the Causes of our Mistakes. The Origin of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    250
  2. § 2. Characteristics of Communism and of Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    259
  3. § 3. Determination of the Third Form of Society. Conclusion
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    280

  1. Letter to M. Blanqui on Property
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    291
Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 
Translation:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.


The author died in 1939, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.