Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What they don't tell you about Thanksgiving in school

Peter Klein gives us a more complete story of the first Thanksgiving:

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.

1 comment:

  1. I believe this change from communal ownership towards a private property system may have created a system which facilitated voluntary transactions, thus creating wealth. According to chapter w of the text, page 18, governments help create a wealth creating process by enforcing property rights. Conversely, lack of private property rights stifles the creation of wealth. The text cites, "without private property and contract enforcement, wealth-creating transactions are less likely to occur, and this stunts development." (Froeb, et al, 2016).
    Having private property in which to cultivate, the colonists likely grew crops and kept livestock to feed their families. But also, they were likely able to sell excess to other families. These voluntary transactions created wealth by creating a surplus between what the buyer was willing to pay and the seller was willing to sell for. This system would also allow farmers to begin to specialize in growing fi they are able to barter or engage in voluntary transactions with other farmers.
    The text also states that government's establishment of private property rights are also associated with improved environmental quality and population well-being (Froeb, et al, 2016). It's believed that, given their own property, people are more likely to take care of that property since it's longevity helps them have a better quality of life. This factor is relevant in this example with early colonists since they would value their own land and tend to it for future generations.