Property and Justice

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Clarendon Press, 1996 - Business & Economics - 387 pages
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Property is a legal and social institution governing the use of most things and the allocation of some items of social welfare. As an institution, property is a complex organizing idea. Despite its complexity, property, as an organizing idea, is now very old and is now used worldwide. Theoldest written records atttest to it. Few primitive peoples, whose societies have been researched by anthropologists, have turned out to lack any conception of it. In the modern world, any normal person will have heard of it, from childhood onwards. In the modern world, the institution of propertyis everywhere embodied in law. That is to say, the various organs of government deploy it, officially as part of the mechanism for controlling the use of things and as part of the mechanism for supervising or directing the allocation of wealth. This work examines the legal and philosophicalunderpinnings of the concept of property and offers a new alaytical framework for understanding property and justices.Bridging the gulf between juristic writing on property and speculations about it appearing in the tradition of western political philosophy, Jim Harris has built from entirely new foundations an analytical framework for understanding the nature of property and its connection with justice. Dr Harris'achievement is a monumental one marrying the subtlety of contemporary political philosophy with the fine detail of technical legislation and difficult litigation in English property law. The result greatly improves our understanding of the philosophical dimension of property and at the same timeallows us to stand back from the detail and see the patterns which emerge.

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About the author (1996)

J. W. Harris is Fellow and Tutor in Law at Keble College, Oxford.

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