Did you know that nearly every known society throughout history has prohibited theft? In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg challenges our understanding of private property and explains the significance of its ancient roots.
Many think property rights are a modern invention designed by elites to hoard everything valuable. But personal items were owned in almost all cultures. From clothes to housing, the idea that your creations are yours was universal and could only be sidelined through force.
Even rights to land have ancient roots. We see evidence of many cultures setting boundaries between them and defining claims over prized watering holes and scarce winter pastures. While modern liberal societies have added legal guarantees, rights are not a modern legal construct.