In “White Trash,” Nancy Isenberg delves into the history of class in America, starting with British colonization. At that time, America was seen as a wasteland — a place to discard the idle poor. The agrarian communities they subsequently formed often remained poor due to a phenomenon Isenberg calls “horizontal mobility.” Jeffrey Brown speaks with the author about how we can evolve past class.
John Locke — one of the main philosophers to set out a theory of property entitlement — agrees that the finders-keepers rule is too loose. However, he claims that if a person finds an unowned resource, mixes his labor with that resource, and leaves enough and “as good” (“as good” meaning enough of the same quality) of the resource for others, then the person is entitled to that resource.
.. But we should be honest about the intellectual bankruptcy of a prominent explanation for private property. We need a theory of private property that makes sense if we are to make any progress on answering fundamental political questions about the disparity of wealth, taxation and the government control of land.