I’ll start this essay with my final conclusions: Although written in 1840, Qu’est-ce que la propriété ? contains ideas which are very relevant today, and should be compulsory reading for anyone who’s at all interested in politics or economics. As far as I’m concerned (and judging only by this one book), Proudhon deserves to be as much a household name as people like Rousseau, Voltaire and Marx, and it’s very unfortunate that his ideas weren’t more influential.
It was certainly the most interesting and thought-provoking book I’d read in at least a couple of years. I took extensive notes while reading it, in fact I’m pretty certain I’ve never before taken so many notes on a book – and that wasn’t only because I was reading it on the computer, which made note-taking particularly easy. By the time I’d finished I’d collected enough material for a pretty extensive essay on Proudhon’s ideas… (more…)