chapter  VI
29 Pages

The Original of Property

WithM. Seliger

Precursors of liberalism like H. Grotius and S. Pufendorf considered untrammelled original liberty and the absence of private property as two sides of the same coin. According to Grotius, the general right over things of a lower nature forms the basis of the original indivisible possession of all men. Pufendorf admitted that moral deterioration rendered negative community untenable. But he failed to demonstrate in the first place that a number of ordinary adults can co-exist without rules of distribution. Representative seventeenth-century natural law theories reflect differences insofar as they derived private ownership from either a positive community of things or a communio negativa, exemplified in the common enjoyment of air and sea. Pufendorf admitted that moral deterioration rendered negative community untenable. The natural right of private property as supported by scriptural evidence guarantees to the utmost against the return of property ‘to the common stock of mankind’.