Property and Freedom

Publisher: Vintage
Richard Pipes, Harvard scholar and historian of the Russian Revolution, brings his remarkable erudition to an exploration of a wide range of national and political systems to demonstrate persuasively that private ownership has served over the centuries to limit the power of the state and enable democratic institutions to evolve and thrive in the Western world.

Beginning with Greece and Rome, where the concept of private property as we understand it first developed, Pipes then shows us how, in the late medieval period, the idea matured with the expansion of commerce and the rise of cities. He contrasts England, a country where property rights and parliamentary government advanced hand-in-hand, with Russia, where restrictions on ownership have for centuries consistently abetted authoritarian regimes; finally he provides reflections on current and future trends in the United States. Property and Freedom is a brilliant contribution to political thought and an essential work on a subject of vital importance.

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From Chapter One

Property can be studied from two distinct points of view: as a concept and as an institution. The two approaches yield very different results. Throughout the history of thought, property has enjoyed a mixed reputation, being identified sometimes with prosperity and freedom, sometimes with moral...
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PRAISE FOR

"A most stimulating and original book. . . . One of the most valuable volumes on property yet." --The American Spectator

"[Property and Freedom] is his most ambitious [book] ever. It is always compelling, often insightful and robust in argument." --Literary Review

"A superb book about a topic that should be front and center in the American political debate. . . . Splendid because it retains the perspective and sweep of great historical scholarship." --National Review

"        Pipes is massively erudite." --The New York Times Book Review

"        Pipes slowly builds up a strong historical case for the necessity of property rights as a prerequisite for freedoms in general." --The Washington Times