Deuteronomy 23:25-26 reflects the limits on altruism:
When thou comest into thy neighbor’s standing corn, then thou mayest pluck ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn.
It’s O.K. to take a bit of the owner’s produce for sustenance; but to ensure that what is taken is not for commercial purposes, the taker cannot use machinery (a sickle) that would raise his marginal productivity and thus raise his output beyond what might be for immediate sustenance.
The owner does have some protection, but he is also supposed to charitable. This seems like a pretty reasonable compromise between altruism and property rights.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Biblical Property Rights
Good advice found in the Bible. Who would have guessed?