… is from page 353 of the late, great UCLA economists Armen A. Alchian’s and William R. Allen’s Universal Economics (2018; Jerry L. Jordan, ed.); this volume is an updated version of Alchian’s and Allen’s magnificent and pioneering earlier textbook, University Economics:
A key feature of private property rights is that the rights to several goods can be dispersed or integrated among several people in whatever ways they find mutually acceptable.
The number of possible combinations and permutations of such arrangements of property rights is inconceivably large. Only a relatively minuscule number of these combinations and permutations will work to anyone’s advantage. But with property rights owned privately and, hence, not centrally – and because ‘better’ uses of particular pieces of property raise the market values of those pieces while ‘worse’ uses of particular pieces of property lower the market values of those pieces – owners are incited to seek out and discover ever-better ways to use, slice, and dice their property rights. The result of this on-going competitive process are uses of property far superior at producing mass prosperity than would be any attempt to consciously arrange the overall pattern of property usage.