Did you know that the pilgrims almost starved after they arrived at Plymouth Rock? That’s because they were forced to farm “collectively.” The corporation that funded the expedition said, “grow food together. Divide the harvest equally.”
This is a terrible idea. It creates what economists call the “tragedy of the commons.” When you share property and the results of your work, people farm until the land is barren, don’t work as hard, or steal food from others.
John Stossel gathers young people from Students For Liberty and runs an experiment to demonstrate this “tragedy of the commons.” It shows the solution is private property, which is what saved the pilgrims.
Governor William Bradford finally decided to “assign each family a parcel of land”. Once the pilgrims had property rights, they became much more productive and brought in huge harvests — which they were then able to share with the Indians.
So this Thanksgiving feast, don’t forget to say “thanks, private property!”
Produced by Naomi Brockwell. Edited by Joshua Swain.