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Properties of Community

Gregory S. Alexander

Cornell Law School

Eduardo M. Penalver

Cornell University - Law School

October 29, 2007

Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-020

Theories of property presuppose conceptions of community, and of the individual's relationship to community. In contrast to the dominant theories of community at work within most Anglo-American property theorizing, which view community obligations as fundamentally instrumental and contractual, we propose in this paper a theory that views the relationship between the individual and community as constitutive and substantive. Human beings' dependence on others to flourish imposes on political communities and their individual members a shared obligation to foster and contribute to the creation and maintenance of those structures necessary for that flourishing. This obligation in turn qualifies individual rights of property, empowering, and, under the right circumstances, compelling the state to take from some in order to safeguard access to needed resources for others.

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Date posted: October 31, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Gregory S. and Penalver, Eduardo M., Properties of Community (October 29, 2007). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-020. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1025569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1025569

Contact Information

Gregory S. Alexander (Contact Author)
Cornell Law School ( email )
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-3504 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Eduardo Moises Penalver
Cornell University - Law School ( email )
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
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