The Tragedy of the Anticommons As an Unintended Outcome of the Privatization Drivers in Poland

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Suava ZBIERSKI-SALAMEH, Haverford Institute, USA
The neoliberal promise of post-socialist transition was a trajectory from state to private property. Thus the centerforld of reform programs of post-socialist regimes were the privatization drives. The binary model of the state property as a negative, homogeneous category connoting an absence of real property, has underpinned theoretically the privatization drives. An abandance of scholarly works have shown the changes in property arrangements in Eastern Europe not synonymous with directed-from-above privatization drives'. Yet, a relative absence of studies of nature of property in post socialism persists (Kowalik, 2009). This paper employes the concept of conjoint property in an attempt to coin a positive content of ownership under state socialism. Focusing on the content of property bundles, the conjoint property draws a fundamental distinction from capitalist private property, and its assumed 'indivisibility' of rights to assets. Instead, Conjoint property denotes ownership where distinct parcels of rights to shared assets were assigned to distinct property subjects. The conjoint property concept, the author of this paper had developed on the basis of her ethnographic, comparative analysis of the ownership realignments in agriculture in Poland, early in the post socialist reform implementation. (Zbierski-Salameh 2012). The paper describes a case study of a current ownership change in real estate in Poland, to explore a lasting significance of her earlier theoretical conclusion about the trajectory of conjoint property into incomplete exclusive property. As she observed in Polish agriculture, she also observed in the current case study, that the post-socialist property's rebundling of rights to assets, produces rights' overlapping, amounting to what Heller (1998) describes as tragedy of anticommons. The legally recognized exclusive owner experiences limitations on her privilege of use of the real-estate assets by other claimants collecting on their rights of exclusion. An underuse of the asset results, instead of the expected greater economic effectiveness.