Extent Of Ownership

What would be the scope of ownership of an object produced by the individual? The answer to this question can be found in the question itself. The extent of an individual's ownership over what he has produced is gauged by his contribution to its production. The following example will help further illustrate the point:

Under conditions of dry farming, a farmer sets himself to cultivate a piece of land for this purpose. He initially sorts out the stones, thorns, etc. and clears the land. Then he ploughs the land and sprinkles 100 kgs of wheat seeds on the land, waiting for summer. If nature proves to be kind towards him and sufficient, timely rains occur, he would be put in the advantageous position to reap a harvest of hay and wheat and therefore his investment of 100 kgs of seed would yield him 2000 kgs of wheat:

100 kgs. wheat + farmer's labor = 2000 kgs. wheat. However if the rainfall was unseasonal and scanty, t he yield would have been halved:

100 kgs. wheat + farmer's labor + 10 rainfalls = 2000 kgs. wheat.

l00 kgs. wheat + farmer's labor + 6 rainfalls = 1000 kgs. wheat.

The above illustration sheds light on the fact that variation in the yield is caused not by the fixed elements, namely the farmer's labor or the seeds, but by the variable element of rainfall.

100 kgs. wheat + farmer's labor = nil wheat.

The cursory approach of attributing the entire output of 2000 kgs of wheat to the farmer is therefore incorrect, because the operation and contribution of the other determining factors, like rainfall, were overlooked. At the same time it is wrong and untenable to hold rainfall as the sole factor for the 2000 kgs of wheat yield. The production perspective furnished below is also equally wrong:

100 kgs. wheat + 10 rainfalls - farmer's labor = 100 kgs. of wheat.

It commits the fallacy of treating the farmer's labor input as the sole factor and therefore is entitled to 1900 kgs. of wheat. All the above illustrations are fallacious and are not in harmony with the principle of fixation of the farmer's entitlement to a part of the total yield commensurate to his role in the production process:

100 kgs wheat + farmer's input + 10 rainfalls + sunny days + etc. = 2000 kgs of wheat.

Therefore, in an attempt to determine the rightful owner of the 1900 kgs of wheat added to the total volume of consumption items at the disposal of humanity, the contribution of the constellation of factors such as the farmer's labor, soil, rainfall, air (oxygen), seeds, ploughing tools etc., must be taken into account.

Thus we come to the realization that the farmer's labor can be treated as only one of the several operational elements accredited for the generation of the new value, and his gain from the lot emanates from that only. In other words, it would be unfair to recognize the farmer as the originator of the 1900 kgs of wheat produced.

The farmer's labor is the embodiment of his mental capacity and awareness acquired from the society as well as his physical efforts. He is indebted to certain external factors for the evolution of his skill. Therefore, an unbiased analysis of the above situation reveals that other people have due share in the produce assigned to him.