Can someone explain to me the philosophical basis for the ownership of resources that’s abroad in the land these days?
I can understand a Lockean view in which labor grants a right to property—if you discover it and work to dig it out of the ground, you have a right to it. Under that view British, American, and Dutch oil companies would own Middle Eastern oil.
I can also understand the more collectivist notion that people have a right to the resources that are in the places where they live. That would seem to be the assertion that’s being made by the people who live in the four gas-rich Bolivian provinces who appear to be acting to secede from the rest of Bolivia in order to secure those rights.
What right do the Bolivians of the other provinces have to those resources? For that matter what right do the people of Iraq have to the oil that’s taken from areas of the south and north of the country?
The idea doesn’t seem to me to be a Marxist one. Wouldn’t Marx have argued that the resources belong to the working class as a whole rather than the more nationalistic view that the resources belong to the state? I’d appreciate somebody setting me straight on this.
Jeff Medcalf quite rightly points out that I’ve left out the notion of property in which whoever is able to secure and protect it has a right to it i.e. the idea that might makes right. I’d intended to include that but it somehow eluded me when I was actually typing out my thoughts.