100 books like Private Property

By Richard Schlatter,

Here are 100 books that Private Property fans have personally recommended if you like Private Property. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

The third leg of the stool supporting workplace democracy (in addition to the democratic and property arguments) is the inalienable rights argument based on the factual inalienability of people’s responsible agency, which the legal employment contract pretends to be alienated in the firm based on employment. The truth comes out when an employee commits a crime at the behest of the employer; then they suddenly become partners in crime. Since the responsible agency is factually inalienable in both criminous and non-criminous actions, the contract that legally alienates all agency to the employer in the non-criminous case should be abolished. Garry Wills traces the history of the inalienable rights clause in the Declaration of Independence back to its roots in the Scottish and European Enlightenment.

By Garry Wills,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Inventing America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From acclaimed historian Garry Wills, author of Lincoln at Gettysburg, a celebrated re-appraisal of the meaning and the source of inspiration of The Declaration of Independence, based on a reading of Jefferson's original draft document.

Inventing America upended decades of thinking about The Declaration of Independence when it was first published in 1978 and remains one of the most influential and important works of scholarship about this founding document. Wills challenged the idea that Jefferson took all his ideas from John Locke. Instead, by focussing on Jefferson's original drafts, he showed Jefferson's debt to Scottish Enlightenment philosophers such as Lord…


Book cover of Ownership: Reinventing Companies, Capitalism, and Who Owns What

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

This is the best book about worker-owned firms in America by two authors who have each worked on the issue for almost a half-century. It focuses on the Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) developed in the US. There are now almost 7,000 ESOPs in America and 10% of the private workforce work in ESOPs so one out of ten workers are co-owners of the company where they work. Hence worker ownership is not just an academic pipe dream but a growing reality in America.

By Corey Rosen, John Case,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ownership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the William Foote Whyte and Kathleen King Whyte Book Prize from the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

Employee ownership creates stronger companies, helps workers build wealth, and fosters a fairer, more stable society. In this book, two leading experts show how it works—and how it can be greatly expanded.

Wages don’t cover the bills. Wealth inequality is growing. Social trust is eroding. There are endless debates about what to do, but one key factor is inexplicably left out: who owns the companies that drive the economy?

Ownership matters. Ownership by a few…


Book cover of Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

This short book by the late Staughton Lynd is the best summary of the radical principles upon which America was founded. Lynd goes deep into the intellectual history of the underlying principles in English and European history. In spite of writing such an important book and perhaps due to his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War, Lynd was not given tenure as a historian at Yale University. He then became a labor lawyer and lived the rest of his life as a labor activist.

By Staughton Lynd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an established classic, Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism was the first book to explore this alternative current of American political thought. Stemming back to the seventeenth-century English Revolution, many questioned private property, the sovereignty of the nation-state, and slavery, and affirmed the common man's ability to govern. By the time of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine was the great exemplar of the alternative intellectual tradition. In the nineteenth century, the antislavery movement took hold of Thomas Paine's ideas and fashioned them into an ideology that ultimately justified civil war. This updated edition contains a preface by the author, which…


Book cover of A Preface to Economic Democracy

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

This book is the follow-up to Robert Dahl’s influential Preface to Democratic Theory—published in 1956. The newer Preface to Economic Democracy applied democratic theory to the workplace. Dahl, as the Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale, was arguably the foremost democratic theorist of his time, so it is important that he applied the democratic theory arguments to the organizations where most people spend much of the waking time. I am particularly thankful for knowing him and when he set out to describe his vision of economic democracy (p. 91), he had a footnote reading, “In clarifying my ideas on this question I have profited greatly from a number of unpublished papers by David Ellerman, cited in the bibliography....”

By Robert Alan Dahl,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Preface to Economic Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tocqueville pessimistically predicted that liberty and equality would be incompatible ideas. Robert Dahl, author of the classic A Preface to Democratic Theory, explores this alleged conflict, particularly in modern American society where differences in ownership and control of corporate enterprises create inequalities in resources among Americans that in turn generate inequality among them as citizens.

Arguing that Americans have misconceived the relation between democracy, private property, and the economic order, the author contends that we can achieve a society of real democracy and political equality without sacrificing liberty by extending democratic principles into the economic order. Although enterprise control by…


Book cover of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

Mark Gober Author Of An End to Upside Down Liberty: Turning Traditional Political Thinking on Its Head to Break Free from Enslavement

From my list on libertarian politics and economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I previously had no interest in politics, but in 2020 the world became so politically charged that I wanted to better understand the landscape. That led me down a rabbit hole of questioning the basic assumptions about what government is and why we have it. Fortunately, there are many brilliant thinkers whose work I was able to study. I ultimately integrated this thinking into my own worldview. This list of books provides a starting point for thinking about our world—and the nature of reality—in an entirely new way. They certainly helped to alter my views, and they all contain excellent references if you’d like to explore them even further. 

Mark's book list on libertarian politics and economics

Mark Gober Why did Mark love this book?

For a New Liberty breaks apart traditional assumptions about politics in ways that I hadn’t considered until reading this book.

Rothbard uses common-sense reasoning to explain the problems with our governing structures today and paves the way for a whole new paradigm. Even more than that, Rothbard shows how society could look in the future if government functions were privatized.

This book is also a great primer for the “Austrian School” of economics. I had many aha moments when reading this book, and it helped change my worldview. 

By Murray N. Rothbard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For a New Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Rothbard proposes a once-and-for-all escape from the two major political parties, the ideologies they embrace, and their central plans for using state power against people. Libertarianism is Rothbard's radical alternative that says state power is unworkable and immoral and ought to be curbed and finally overthrown.To make his case, Rothbard deploys his entire system of thought: natural law, natural rights, Austrian economics, American history, the theory of the state, and more.It is relentless, scientific, analytical, and morally energetic — a book that makes an overwhelming case. Indeed, it gave an entire movement…


Book cover of These Truths: A History of the United States

Virginia Rademacher Author Of Derivative Lives: Biofiction, Uncertainty, and Speculative Risk in Contemporary Spanish Narrative

From my list on combating post-truth contagions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and professor of literary studies whose work has been deeply involved in topics of truth, realism, and public policy. My recent book considers works of fiction that openly and honestly experiment with questions of uncertainty, identity, and risk in the supermodern present. This book draws from disciplinary discourses in law, finance, and economics, which similarly contend with competing claims to truth and value and dive deep into the circumstantial and speculative games that authors play when they write fiction about reality. I have my PhD in Spanish Literature (UVA), M.A. in International Affairs and Economics (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Virginia's book list on combating post-truth contagions

Virginia Rademacher Why did Virginia love this book?

This book makes American history relevant, alive, and urgent.

This is not a book to read in one sitting–but to enjoy in segments. I felt so much smarter and prepared to understand our current challenges to truth and trust after reading this book.

At this critical juncture in our democracy, this book will illuminate, enlighten, and inform! 

By Jill Lepore,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Truths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The American experiment rests on three ideas-"these truths", Jefferson called them-political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "on a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching", writes Jill Lepore in a ground-breaking investigation into the American past that places truth at the centre of the nation's history.

Telling the story of America, beginning in 1492, These Truths asks whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths or belied them. Finding meaning in contradiction, Lepore weaves American history into a tapestry of faith and hope, of peril and prosperity, of technological progress…


Book cover of Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism

Kevin B. Anderson Author Of Lenin, Hegel, and Western Marxism: A Critical Study

From my list on philosophy and social theory.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of the books I recommend offer both a very deep reading of our socio-economic situation in all its oppressiveness and alienation, and the possibility of an alternative. Only with such philosophical digging and reappropriation of dialectical thinkers of the past, beginning with Hegel and Marx, can we construct a humanist future. These books speak to my own life as a 1960s activist in the USA who has yearned ever since for a real, humanist social transformation in the face of so many setbacks for our cause, some of them self-inflicted.

Kevin's book list on philosophy and social theory

Kevin B. Anderson Why did Kevin love this book?

This is the first study ever of Marx on communism/socialism, a topic that is often considered something he refrained from writing about. Hudis ingeniously marshals a huge body of writings – on Proudhon, Lassalle, and others – where Marx elaborates his own concept of socialism/communism in the course of critiquing what he sees as vastly inadequate concepts. In so doing, Hudis connects these issues to dialectics and to economics, and above all to the critique of both capital and the state, here not even sparing Lenin’s classic work, State and Revolution.

By Peter Hudis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In contrast to the traditional view that Marx's work is restricted to a critique of capitalism - and that he consciously avoided any detailed conception of its alternative - this work shows that Marx was committed to a specific concept of a post-capitalist society which informed the whole of his approach to political economy.


Book cover of Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

This is an extraordinary study about life in and around the strait between the Pacific and Arctic oceans, home for Iñupiaq, Yupik, and Chukchi people and many other lively things, before and after the arrival of Russian and American colonial powers.

I admire the nuanced way in which Demuth exemplifies how capitalist and communist resource management transformed not only human but also animal cultures (whales, for example, strategize against whaling ships).

By Bathsheba Demuth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Floating Coast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Along the Bering Strait, through the territories of the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia, Bathsheba Demuth explores an ecosystem that has long sustained human beings. Yet when Americans and Europeans arrived, the area became the site of an experiment and the modern ideologies of production and consumption, capitalism and communism were subject to the pressures of arctic scarcity.

Demuth draws a vivid portrait of the sweeping effects of turning ecological wealth into economic growth and state power over the past century and a half. More urgent in a warming climate and as we…


Book cover of Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

William D. Danko Author Of Richer Than A Millionaire: A Pathway to True Prosperity

From my list on building wealth.

Why am I passionate about this?

William D. Danko, Ph.D. has studied wealth formation since 1973. He is the co-author of The Millionaire Next Door, a research-based book about wealth in America that has been ranked as a bestseller by The New York Times for more than three years. More recently, he co-authored Richer Than A Millionaire ~ A Pathway To True Prosperity, a book that shows how to build wealth with a greater purpose in mind. Dr. Danko resides in upstate New York with his wife, and is the father of three, and the grandfather of five.

William's book list on building wealth

William D. Danko Why did William love this book?

To build wealth, we need an environment that allows for unequal outcomes. The Friedmans argue that using societal or governmental force in the name of equality will destroy the environment where we are free to choose how wealth is grown. In their words: Freedom “preserves the opportunity for today's disadvantaged to become tomorrow's privileged and, in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life.” Let the market determine the outcome. Bad ideas will wither away, and good ideas will thrive.

By Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Free to Choose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Argues that free-market forces work better than government controls for achieving real equality and security, protecting consumers and workers, providing education, and avoiding inflation and unemployment.


Book cover of The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

Joseph A. Scimecca Author Of The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology

From my list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am currently a Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, a Research I Institution, and have now published 9 books. Until I wrote the book Christianity and Sociological Theory, I was a traditional sociologist, one who abided by the tenet of the discipline to profess neutrality in one’s scholarly work. My book, The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology, is not only my most controversial book, given its criticism of contemporary sociology, but also my most personal book.

Joseph's book list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion

Joseph A. Scimecca Why did Joseph love this book?

This book argues that Christianity provided the foundation for reason which led to the beginnings of science. It makes the case that Christianity alone embraced logic and deductive thinking as the basis for freedom and progress and is responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium.

Additionally, it is a very well-written book, which is usually not the case for academic works. 

By Rodney Stark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Victory of Reason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many books have been written about the success of the West, analyzing why Europe was able to pull ahead of the rest of the world by the end of the Middle Ages. The most common explanations cite the West’s superior geography, commerce, and technology. Completely overlooked is the fact that faith in reason, rooted in Christianity’s commitment to rational theology, made all these developments possible. Simply put, the conventional wisdom that Western success depended upon overcoming religious barriers to progress is utter nonsense.In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and…


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