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The Rulers in a Propertarian Society

Some time ago, C.Jay wrote:

If a ruler is one who has the legal claim to setting the “rules” of a given jurisdiction, then logically the property owner is a ruler over all that he owns.  And further, if the ideal libertarian society can be described as a “Propertarian” society, that is, a society made up only of privately-owned property as opposed to “public” property, then it is essentially ruled by proper owners creating their rules and voluntary interacting with each other.  The number of rulers in this society is not zero, in fact, it is hundreds or thousands or however big the society is! Ironically then, it is democracy and every other State structure which limits the number of rulers.

He wrote this while describing why he is not fond of the word “anarchy,” which etymologically refers to a social order without rulers.  The point was that there most certainly are rulers in a capitalistic and strict property-rights order.  Recently, I read a similar statement by Mises Canada’s Editor in Chief James E. Miller, who wrote:

The issue is not necessarily the functionality of a hypothetical anarcho-capitalist society, but of definition. The etymology of anarchy is simple: the ancient Greek meaning is simply “without rulers.” Are so-called “rulers” necessary for capitalism? Yes and no, depending on one’s general understanding.

Private property itself needs rulers – that is the owners of the property themselves. The same goes for hierarchy. If a rentier owns land that people agree to live on, there is a clear distinction between who’s in charge.

Glad to see this agreement.

Published in Mitchell Thompson