Expropriations and confiscations, 16 th –20 th Centuries- Expropriations et confiscations, XVI e –XX e siècles
Edited By Luigi Lorenzetti, Michela Barbot and Luca Mocarelli
The papers collected in the present volume suggest that private property is not necessarily the most safeguarded legal model, hence it is not less vulnerable to violation. They construct a close analysis of the most common forms of abuse of private property on record – expropriation, seizure, and confiscation – perpetrated by public authorities. They also seek to define the uneasy, often intricate relation between legal and legitimate. In a perspective of lights and shadows, the role of confiscation and expropriation changes : now seen as powerful instruments of change, now as enduring factors of conservation in the evolution of private ownership rights.
Les droits de propriété sont depuis longtemps au cœur de l’intérêt de diverses disciplines. L’attention des historiens s’est focalisée surtout sur la naissance de la propriété privée et individuelle telle qu’elle a été codifiée dans l’Europe libérale du XIX
Introduction – Property and Its Antithesis : Confiscations and Expropriations at the Heart of History - Michela Barbot, Luigi Lorenzetti and Luca Mocarelli 1
Introduction – Property and Its Antithesis : Confiscations and Expropriations at the Heart of History Michela Barbot, Luigi Lorenzetti and Luca Mocarelli Men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Chap. 17. In recent times the history of the right to property has aroused renewed interest among scholars. In the wake of the frenzy of legal changes introduced by new emerging countries and by the European economies in transition1, historians and social scientists are once again focusing their investigations on the evolu- tion of one of the cornerstones of capitalism and modernity : the right to pri- vate, absolute and exclusive property, as framed in Europe by the 19th century codifications2. The formidable number of studies generated on ownership and property have tended to focus mainly on two main questions : the ways in which private and individual property emerged to the detriment of collective property, a concept which a number of scholars believe to be completely inadequate3, and 1 In particular, we are referring to China or Eastern Europe countries : both of these areas have seen significant changes to their property-rights systems : by way of example see Colombatto Enrico, Macey Johnatan, “Lessons from Transition in Eastern Europe. A Property-Rights Interpretation”, in International Bulletin, vol. I, n. 1 (1997), pp. 23–29, and Oi Jean, Walder Andrew (eds.), Property rights and economic reform in China, Stanford, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1999. 2 For a thought-provoking reconstruction of the history of property rights from...
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