Working Papers

"Democracy and Property"

Author
Joseph Ramos
Abstract

Abstract

This paper examines the relations between democracy and property in the context of less developed countries, with special reference to Chile. Starting from the premise that there is an essential distinction between the legitimacy of the institution of private property and the legitimacy of its present distribution, the author argues that property ownership is only one of the sources of power in society and, moreover, that highly concentrated distributions of wealth are due to historical circumstances rather than intrinsic to the nature of property itself. The paper's main contention is that an economic system based on the market, with widely diffused private property, is the economic structure most in accord with a pluralistic democracy.

Resumen

Este ensayo examina las relaciones entre la democracia y la propiedad en el contexto de los países menos desarrollados, con especial referencia a Chile. Partiendo de la premisa que hay una distinción esencial entre la legitimidad de la institución de la propiedad privada y la legitimidad de su distribución presente, el autor plantea que la posesión de propiedad es sólo una de las fuentes de poder en la sociedad y por lo tanto que las distribuciones de riqueza altamente concentradas se deben a circunstancias históricas y no a la naturaleza intrínsica de la propiedad. El argumento principal del ensayo es que un sistema económico basado en el mercado, con propiedad privada ampliamente difusa, es la estructura económica más en acuerdo con una democracia pluralista.

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Simona BerettaMatt BloomCatherine BoltenPaolo G. CarozzaSéverine DeneulinRev. Robert Dowd, CSCDeirdre GuthrieBeth Simpson HlabseDavid HollenbachPaul PerrinSteve ReifenbergIlaria Schnyder von WartenseeClemens SedmakCarolyn WooBruce Wydick

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