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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 41 of Richard Stroup’s wonderful 2003 book, Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know About Economics and the Environment:

Governments rarely create property rights.  Although the history of property rights varies from place to place, property rights are usually established informally when land or other natural resources become valuable enough for individuals to work with them.  Later, these informal rights are confirmed or codified by a governmental entity.

Indeed it’s true that “you didn’t build” the social order that is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for your economic success – but nor did government build it or, even, perform any especially important actions in furthering it.  No one individual or agency built this order, for it is spontaneous.  It is the result of human action but not of human design.  Each productive person, today and in the past, contributed to it, but no individual contribution is responsible for it.