Preliminary thoughts on the 7th Commandment
"Thou shall not steal." (Yes, that's the 7th commandment. YMMV.)
- Things exist.
- People exist.
- Some things belong to people.
- Some things do not belong to anyone.
- When a thing belongs to a person, that person (the owner) has the exclusive right to disposition the thing.
- Among the dispositions an owner may select, the owner may abandon the thing.
- An abandoned thing does not belong to anyone.
- A person may appropriate a thing that is capable of being owned, and which does not belong to anyone.
- When a person appropriates a thing, then the person now owns it.
- Sometimes, justice may dictate that an owner disposition a thing in a particular way.
- If a person dispositions a thing that belongs to another, then that person has violated the rights of the owner to be the exclusive dispositioner of the thing.
- If an owner is incapable or unwilling to disposition a thing according to the dictates of justice, then others may be obligated to disposition the thing, even though this violates the exclusive rights of the owner.
- If a person dispositions a thing that another owns, and the disposition was not dictated by justice, then the person has committed theft.
Labels: ownership; theft; usury; justice