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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Your teeth belong to the collective.

– From a Planet Money piece quoted by Alex Tabarrok (who was linked to today by David Thompson), about how China went from the bad old days of the Great Leap Forward to the better days that followed. The above words, which Thompson also singled out for attention in his link, were an answer to a property rights query to those in authority, in the bad old days. Do we even own our teeth? No you do not.

The switch from collective “property” to actual property, as Tabarrok makes clear, was initiated by the people of China, rather than by their rulers. It began in the village of Xiaogang, whose farmers decided to go back to actual property for each individual farmer and his family, with immediate beneficial effects. And then it became a movement. The rulers of China didn’t decide to make this change. They merely decided not to stamp it out.

7 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • steve

    Property rights is a natural state of affairs and would require constant vigiliance from the authorities to keep it from springing forth anew. Attributing it to the decisions of some farmers in one village sounds a little fishy to me. In reality, I suspect that it was breaking out all over the place all the time.

    As much as I hate to admit it, I think the authorities in China have to be credited with recognizing and to the extent they do respecting and enforcing property rights. While surely wary of public sentiment, they clearly have the power of the gun on their side. They chose to do so and were not compelled.

  • Stephen Willmer

    Mark Steyn recently noted how, under Obamacare, the health Kommissar is required to establish what I think the legislation called “teeth-level surveillance”.

  • Laird

    And all your cheezburgers, too.

  • veryretired

    I wish somebody would lay claim to my hemmies, I could do without them.

    Now there’s a campaign slogan that seniors could get behind—“All your ‘roids are belong to us!”

  • Alisa

    TMI? Ah, what the hell, I’m in!

  • Michael Jennings

    All your base?