2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Can Claims to Property Ground Territorial Expansion?

Aim: To investigate whether claims to property can legitimise territorial expansion.

Case study: Throughout the essay I will focus upon he colonisation of America, with the aim of concluding whether the desire for land, held by the colonial power, could be used to legitimise the events that took place.

Philosophers: Locke, Nozick, Hobbes, Hegel, Radin, Grotius

– To investigate the concept of property amongst native Americans.
– To assess whether the European powers had any legitimate claim to the land.
– Can the colonial power’s desire for property ever legitimise the events that took place?

2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Karl Marx without the Prejudice. A Critical Evaluation of Karl Marx using Henry George to Defend Private Property

Karl Marx refutes private property because:
1. It leads to an illegitimate division within society.
2. It alienates the labourer from their objectified labour (property owner takes from the labourer).

Henry George highlighted the following problems with Marx’s position (all of which stem from his prejudiced original position, namely, Communism must be right):
1. The removal of private property contradicts the values of independence and self-reliance.

2. Marx accepts property to be important in determining identity but then refutes property. There needs to be an alternative source of identity which is not provided.

3. The problem of alienation remains unresolved because the product of the labourer is still taken from them.

4. The relationship between objectified labour being necessary to maintain society and identity stemming from objectified labour means objectified labour is necessary for the continued existence of society. Therefore:
a. Either, private property should not exist, in which case society will no longer exist.
b. Or, society emerges that does not require objectified labour.

5. Marx forgets the importance of incentive for human production. Without a selfish incentive humanity will reduce its productivity and thus be unable to sustain the growing human population.
a. Valuing labour by time is a prime example of Marx’s ignorance of incentive.

A possible alternative to the system that causes the growing division of society:
1. No longer an income tax

2. In the place of income tax is land value tax (user of the natural resource pays a percentage of the resources value in order to attain the ability to utilise the resource for his benefit)

3. Retain VAT (Value Added Tax) for internet transactions and other transactions the government seeks to control.

1. Increased utilisation of natural resources.

2. Simplification of tax system.

3. Increased accountability for tax obligations.

4. Increased benefits received by the local communities.