The question then inevitably arises -- Whose Efficiency? (by Rick Wolff) If private property arose for "efficient" reasons, when communal property has also been shown to be efficient, then we have two equilibria and we need to explain why one was chosen over the other. So, efficiency for the landowners or efficiency for the peasants?
A good quote from Angus:
The implication is that private owners will do a better job of caring for the environment because they want to preserve the value of their assets. In reality, scholars and activists have documented scores of cases in which the division and privatization of communally managed lands had disastrous results. Privatizing the commons has repeatedly led to deforestation, soil erosion and depletion, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, and the ruin of ecosystems.
An argument commonly leveled against this view emphasizes the social efficiency gains of private property. However, this is by no means an absolute law. Economists such as Daron Acemoglu ("Technology, Information, and the Decentralization of the Firm", QJE 122(4)), as well as other social scientists, have studied the relationship between technology and the social relations of production. Specifically, they have identified certain technologies and forms of knowledge production with more decentralized forms of firm governance. Think about Google vs. GM, or the cooperative software companies in California.
Of course, the historians have long known these things! Great to hear this research is gaining more attention though.