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Working Paper

The Creation of Knowledge in Society: Waste Defined by Property and Exchange


First-user appropriation of private property is defensible on several grounds, and it meets Locke’s “enough, and as good” proviso by actually providing “more, and better” and by creating an institutional context in which objects can be defined as goods. This essay considers Locke’s prohibition against waste and argues that private property and exchange also allow us to define what it means for something to be “wasted” by conveying useful knowledge about alternative uses of resources to their owners.

Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business.

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