R. H. Tawney wrote the following in The Acquisitive Society (1920):

The greater part of modern property has been attenuated to a pecuniary lien or bond on the product of industry which carries with it a right to payment, but which is normally valued precisely because it relieves the owner from any obligation to perform a positive or constructive function. Such property may be called passive property, or property for acquisition, for exploitation, or for power... It is questionable, however, whether economists shall call it "Property" at all, and not rather, as Mr. Hobson has suggested, "Improperty," since it is not identical with the rights which secure the owner the produce of his toil, but is opposite of them.

Shouldn't there be another preposition in the bolded sentence? Definitions 1 and 3 of the link contain at least one. If so, which should be used?

1 Answer 1


Obviously "another preposition" was not necessary in 1920. It is not necessary today:

Secure + indirect object + direct object

The parents want to secure their son a good future.

Edit to add:

Notice that the indirect object comes before the direct object. As in:

Throw the man the ball.

the man is the indirect object, the ball the direct object.

You can also use a preposition and say

Throw the ball to the man.


The parents want to secure a good future for their son.

In your sentence:

which secure the produce of his toil for the owner

Which is awkward, because the pronoun his comes before the owner,

But I think the construction should be clear.

  • 1
    "produce of his toil for the owner". Putting "his|her" before the noun to which it belongs|refers is a construction that has been around for a very long time. Not used so much these days.
    – TimR
    Oct 18, 2014 at 10:30

You must log in to answer this question.