the importance of property in business property (assets) as an indicator of corporate prosperity the importance accorded to owners (shareholders) of a business capitalist business activity understood as voluntary exchanges of property property rights matter
where do property rights come from? why are they given so much importance? do they merit the significance accorded to them in business?
John Locke’s justification of property rights how do we get from common ownership to private ownership?
self-ownership and the ownership of one’s labour: I own myself therefore I own my labour property as the outcome of the application of one’s own labour to common resources: I apply my labour (which I own) to commonly owned things I thus come to own those things therefore I have a right to use them as I see fit furthermore…
this works to everyone’s benefit because we make things more useful by working on them and everyone benefits when we make things more useful
Locke’s rationale applied to business businesses have ownership rights to the things they make because production is the outcome of their own labour businesses make things more useful by working on them, therefore the recognition of those property rights works to everyone’s benefit
the beneficent consequences of respecting businesses property rights: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjPFZV8Wqo on the other hand: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMenqKCXdw&lis t=PLFA50FBC214A6CE87
Karl Marx’s critique of property rights Marx was critical of primacy given to rights in modern society: ‘none of the so-called rights of man goes beyond egoistic man, … namely an individual withdrawn behind his private interests and whims and separated from the community’ (2000/1843: 61). he was particularly critical of property rights: ‘the right of man to property is the right to enjoy his possessions and dispose of the same arbitrarily, without regard for other men, independently from society, the right of selfishness’ (2000/1843: 60).
how exploitation occurs in business business creates surplus value by combining resources labour makes the biggest contribution to the creation of surplus value but most of this surplus value is kept by the owners of the business – who only give their workers enough to get by – which Marx sees as exploitation of workers by owners
exploitation in contemporary business? theory in practice a living wage for fast-food workers?
key points a lot of importance is given to property rights in contemporary business there are sound reasons for respecting property rights however, if we accord too much importance to property rights we may overlook other important ethical considerations in particular, we may overlook ways in which workers are exploited to serve the interests of business owners
references Marx, K. (2000/1843) ‘On the Jewish question’, in D. McLellan (ed.), Karl Marx Selected Writings, (2nd edn). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 46–70.