APPLYING COMMUNAL THEORIES TO URBAN PROPERTY
AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL LOOK AT USING THE ELABORATION OF COMMON PROPERTY REGIMES TO REDUCE SOCIAL EXCLUSION FROM HOUSING MARKETS
Posted Friday, March 3, 2017

"Property is not the sacred right. When a rich man becomes poor it is a misfortune, it is not a moral evil. When a poor man becomes destitute, it is a moral evil, teeming with consequences and injurious to society and morality." - Lord Acton

Abstract

 The advantages of privatized property regimes and common property regimes have been debated in legal and economic discourse for ages. Although private property is prevalent in the developed world, a reading of the available anthropological literature shows that common property regimes still thrive in many parts of the developing world to maintain natural resources and to spread the risk of property ownership. Considering the recent U.S. housing crisis and its global effect on world markets, perhaps the developed world should incorporate more communal theories to-what has now become the developed world's scarce resource-urban land. In fact, after a close look at the lessons learned from the successful operation of common property regimes in the developing world related to their natural resource systems, we see that the theories are relevant to the understanding of a wide-variety of property regimes used in modern societies such as the United States. Thus, the developed world should embrace a more pluralistic property regime. Why? The elaboration of common property regimes in the United States, as in more widespread use of instruments such as land trusts, could lessen the social exclusion from the right to property by making housing more affordable. With affordable housing and less risk, we can possibly avoid future housing crises.