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Property rights and Government market control

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Who benefits most from property rights - the rich or the poor? Should government have control of the market?

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Solution Summary

The question of who benefits most from property rights - the rich or the poor - is discussed in this solution. Government control of the market is also debated from a socio-political viewpoint including Adam Smith's principle of 'invisible hand'. References are listed for further expansion of the topic. A word version of the solution is also attached.

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

On Property Rights

Properties rights refer to the rights individuals have over physical or intangible entity, object or idea that a person or a group of people consider to be their property, their ownership. When we come to own something, we come to that ownership via a host of ways - we could have inherited it, it could have been given to us, or we could have worked hard for it so that we can acquire it, purchase it and enjoy it as something we own. Ownership allows one to do as one pleases with his/her property. It can be sold, traded, consumed, mortgaged, transferred and exchange. The owner has the right on the property before anyone else. Consider land and home - the owner can sell this, rent it out, exchange it. Cars and other equipment one's own can be used, rented, sold out dependent upon what the owner wishes to utilize the property for. Property rights are important in society because it allows one the protection necessary so that he or she can enjoy the benefits and exercise freedom in utilizing or disposing of their property. It cannot be taken from them forcibly and any attempt at doing so requires following a process that compensates the owner and allows one with interest in the property to acquire it by due process of law. One cannot just 'steal' ownership. In so doing, one impinges on the right of the rightful owner of the property and such an act is punishable by law.

So to answer the question of who benefits most from property rights - the rich or the poor? I would venture to say that both benefit from it. Rich or Poor, their rights to their properties have the same value. Land properties for example, large or small still fall subject to property rights and rich or poor, the owners enjoy the same rights. So if the rights of the owners are impinged upon (say, there are individuals or entities that are squatting or are trying to grab the land), owners, rich or poor, can look to their property rights to protect their interests and ensure that the squatters/grabbers are put in their place and their properties be cleared of such threats to their ownership. There are 2 kinds of private property - real (land and immovable properties tied to it) & personal property (anything that can be moved and this includes intellectual property rights). Dependent upon the civil and common laws of a country, property rights vary but generally, the tenets are the same - the owner has the right to utilize or dispose his or her property according to how the owner wants or sees fit. The US Constitution allows government to 'take' property for an important public purpose but this also requires the government to provide just compensation to the ...

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  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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