I will be rebutting the three main arguments I have heard against private property:
1) Private property creates inequality and is therefore unfair.
Inequality isn't the same thing as injustice or unfairness. Not everyone can produce, or decides to produce, things of equal value, so there will naturally always be inequality. Of course, some inequality is unfair, such as discrimination based on immutable characteristics like race and sex, but this doesn't give those being discriminated against the right to force others to offer them a job, better pay etc. The employer has the right to offer whatever he or she wants to potential employees, and the potential employees have the right to refuse to work for the employer if they don't like the terms.
However, I also want to add that a lot of inequality is created by the state, as it uses coercion to control resources and distribute them to those with money, influence and power who have the ability to influence lawmakers.
2) Private property is just a social construct that isn't supported by reality or nature.
Private property is the simple idea that you have the right to what you earn, work for, or are given through voluntary means. Rejecting this principle is believing that everyone has the right to use any property at any time, which is impossible. If I have the right to use something at a given time, then by definition, no one else does until one of the following occurs:
- I voluntarily give it away.
- I lend it out.
- I trade it for something else.
- I abandon it, meaning I don't intend on using it again.
- Or, in the case that I am borrowing it, my time with it expires.
In any case, private property can never be abolished, despite what communists and those against private property believe. Even if the majority decide that resources should be "public property", there will have to be people making decisions related to those resources, such as who gets what, when, how much, and why. Socialists and communists realize this, which is why many of them advocate for some sort of "committees" or "councils" to make these types of decisions. Therefore, the decision-makers will have control over the resources, essentially making them the owners of it, because they would have more of a right to them than those not allowed to participate in the decision-making process.
This is the most dangerous and frightening form of power anyone can have, as people are dependent upon resources to survive and would be at the mercy of those deciding what they will have.
3) Profits are theft.
This extremely misguided and oversimplified view of profits is one of the main tenets of communism, so it is important to refute it thoroughly and adequately. Here are five reasons why profits are not theft:
You can't steal something from someone that he or she doesn't have to begin with. It is impossible for an employer to steal his/her employees' wages, or "exploit" his employees, since the employees didn't have that money before they started working at the job that they wouldn't even have if the employer didn't offer it to them. To go further, employers have no obligation to even create their businesses or hire extra people, and employees have no obligation to work for the employer.
The mutual agreement between the employer and employee regarding the value of the employee's work creates the value of that work, not the revenue of whatever the employer sells. The employee helps create or sell a product or service, but he hardly influences the market price of that product or service, as the market price is a result of billions of people interacting and making decisions.
The value of the employee's work is not equal to the value of the product or service itself, as the employee did not do all the work necessary to bring that product or service into being, only some. For example, toy assemblers didn't find or create all the resources that are used to create plastic toys; they normally just put together pieces that were already manufactured. Without specialization and division of labor, it would take ages for an employee or group of employees at any given factory to make a toy, or any product for that matter, 100% from scratch.
Profits are the compensation for earning the extra revenue by creating it, which executives are entitled to as well because of the decisions they make that generate the profits. It isn't just manual labor that produces wealth, it is also the strategic planning and decision-making undertaken by those at the top of the company.
The employer has no control over the price he will be able to sell his products or services at. He can try to sell them at a certain price, but there is never a guarantee he will even break even, much less make a profit.
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!