“Trade, and therefore property, is older than the State and outside the State”

“Every chimpanzee troupe has a boss, but only human beings have capitalism.”


A surprisingly great piece from The National Review by Kevin D. Williamson:

That “sophisticated cultural interaction” is another way of saying “trade” — free trade that was well under way some 6,000 years before the writing of the Code of Hammurabi, long before there was anything like a government in Britain. Trade assumes something to trade — which is to say, it assumes property and property rights. That these should have existed long before the State — the central actor in the minds of the little men and women of the “You didn’t build that!” school of thought — is not an entirely new discovery.

You do not need a Lockean theory of property, or even the American belief in divine investiture, to understand that trade, and therefore property, is older than the State and outside the State. That isn’t a question of philosophy, but a question of archaeology.
The bands of marauders did come, of course, and the biggest and orneriest and most cunning of them stayed until their longevity imbued their successors with an unearned glow of respectability. They call themselves “public servants” now, but the type is familiar enough: Every chimpanzee troupe has a boss, but only human beings have capitalism. Warren, Clinton, and the rest are lining up to be the new boss.
Who is lining up to be human?

Actually, the question can be answered by both archaeology and philosophy, as I argue here:

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