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Author Topic: What do we we mean when we say property?  (Read 11971 times)
SinCityVoluntaryist
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« on: September 07, 2012, 03:31:25 PM »

 Hey guys,
 
I've realized something about my knowledge of anarcho-capitalism/voluntaryism that's bothered me. I don't have a grand knowledge into the nature of property rights. Now, when I say this, I mean that I don't fully understand the philosophy of property and why it needs to exists. I know that we own ourselves and what we work for, but beyond the basics, my education seems to come to a halt. In short, my question is this: how do I understand property? I mean, how do I REAAAAAALY understand it? Not just the basics, but the whole philosophical spectrum? What are good books? I plan on reading this one:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Economics-Ethics-Private-Property/dp/0945466404/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347049241&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Economics+and+Ethics+of+Private+Property
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 03:53:44 PM by BlackandGr9y » Logged

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Seth King
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 03:44:47 PM »

You and me both. I think property is the most difficult and murky subjects within the realm of anarcho-capitalism. That looks like a good book. I do hope you read it.

I've come to my own conclusion that property really does not exist, only claims. I know that flies in the face of a lot of anarcho-capitalists and it reeks of anarcho-communism, but it's how I feel. It's not about what you own, it's what you can defend.
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BobRobertson
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 03:46:06 PM »

Now, when I say this, I mean that I don't fully understand the philosophy of property and why it needs to exists.

If I may take a tangent and run with it...

It doesn't actually need to exist. "Property" and the rights, traditions, and principles that have evolved around that idea, exist because we humans need a method to deal with scarce resources.

I view the reason for basing "property" in self-ownership is that each of us, from our own perspective, is the most scarce resource of all: There is only one of me. Dealing with scarcity through individual self-direction, our "individual rights", build upon that idea of scarcity. Something can only be "owned" by one at a time. That is the title to that property, the accepted social standard by which to determine the one entity with the final power to determine what occurs with that scarce resource.

When the state deals with people as if they were its own property, from its perspective that scarcity with which we recognize our lives goes away. People are expendable, each nameless cog in the gray-clad mass indistinguishable from any other. "The Mob".

Air has no property rights associated with it. It is only when that air becomes scarce that people even start to concern themselves with how to make it "property".
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SinCityVoluntaryist
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 03:59:34 PM »

 I still don't think I fully understand. UGH!

 I remember Rothbard saying that when we put our energy into something, it then becomes ours. When we mold something based on the will of our own action, that item is claimed by us. That I get. However, I don't know how much deeper I can go. Perhaps I'm not smart enough to get it.
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SinCityVoluntaryist
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 04:17:35 PM »

You know, now that I really start to think about it, I remember Rothbard talking about property rights in a very objective manner when he brought up how an anarcho-capitalist society could handle environmental issues. Property rights, from what I understand, are needed to create social and political order. If they do not exist, chaos is the only true consequence that can be seen.
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 09:44:45 PM »

Property rights ('claims') are very simple in principle; he who uses first, owns.  The problem comes from matters of degree.  Does he who uses first continue to use?  To what degree is it used first? 

My conclusion is that the only way that property 'rights' can work is when people consent to user physical evidence as the basis of determining who owns what instead of violent appropriation.  What I mean is, before a free society based on property rights exist, people have to agree to not use violence to solve property disputes.  Otherwise, its jungle law.
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 05:00:12 PM »

BlackandGr9y, you are so close to libertarian breakthrough!

I went through the same stage a while back, when I realized my view of property and natural rights were all wrong. I didn't buy rothbard's natural rights explanation anymore. What I realized is that:

1.Natural rights do not exist (or the nonaggression axiom
2.Property is not objective. It is 100% man-made.

Property is just a means to an end. It is a means to a peaceful, productive society through division of labor. That is it. It is not magic, objective, inherit, or anything like that. Property allows for the division of labor.

We make the rules ourselves: don't harm me, respect my property, and I will do the same for you. Free market economics is about realizing that it is in your own best interest to not steal, kill etc.

This is where, I feel, Molyneux fails. It is not immoral to aggress others, if you can live with the consequences. Ethics are not universal, but they are social rules that we agree on for our own benefit.

I'm not against government because "taxation is theft!" or whatnot. I am simply for economic cooperation because it is beneficial for everyone in the medium-long run. Government is the opposite, and is the biggest cause in lower quality of life for most people in the short run, and everyone after that.

^^^This is not the same thing a rothbardian natural-rights libertarian believes (necessarily). This is a consequentialist/utilitarian argument. Property rights *are* social order, but not because of natural rights. All types of libertarians agree that the state is the problem, but we can have very different reasons for believing so.

My favorite libertarian blog on the subject: http://nielsio.tumblr.com/

Good luck! I'd love to help you in any way I can. Read that blog and watch youtube.com/nielsio for some great information on the subject- you'll find what you're looking for.

P.S. -Nielsio is the guy that actually created the V for voluntary sign.



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Hanzo
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 06:45:37 PM »

I keep refreshing but there are no new replies!

Seriously, I love this topic. Does no one else find it interesting?
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Hanzo
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 02:35:40 PM »

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AuNero
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2012, 03:16:15 PM »

I remember Rothbard saying that when we put our energy into something, it then becomes ours. When we mold something based on the will of our own action, that item is claimed by us.

This is called the homesteading principle.  When you mix your labor with a previously unowned resource, it is yours.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_principle

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skyc
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 05:15:44 PM »

I'm just gonna leave this here  Grin

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/ProProp.html

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assasin7
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 11:10:45 PM »

You and me both. I think property is the most difficult and murky subjects within the realm of anarcho-capitalism. That looks like a good book. I do hope you read
I've come to my own conclusion that property really does not exist, only claims. I know that flies in the face of a lot of anarcho-capitalists and it reeks of anarcho-communism, but it's how I feel. It's not about what you own, it's what you can defend.

(Puts on robes and gets Sith voice) yes young padawan feel the power of the dark side let it course through you
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Tom J
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 04:27:33 AM »


...
I'm not against government because "taxation is theft!" or whatnot. I am simply for economic cooperation because it is beneficial for everyone in the medium-long run. Government is the opposite, and is the biggest cause in lower quality of life for most people in the short run, and everyone after that.

^^^This is not the same thing a rothbardian natural-rights libertarian believes (necessarily). This is a consequentialist/utilitarian argument. Property rights *are* social order, but not because of natural rights. All types of libertarians agree that the state is the problem, but we can have very different reasons for believing so.

...

Consequentialist/utilitarian arguments can be useful when objective terms are involved. But “beneficial for everyone in the medium-long run” is a very broad and subjective concept, and can be used to justify anything.

Also, many "libertarians" are quite schizophrenic on their view of the state.
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Tom J
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 04:39:59 AM »

Property rights from a principled libertarian standpoint are the opposite of a might-makes-right system. In short, the first or prior possessor has a superior claim to a resource than that of the latecomer. 
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BobRobertson
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 08:08:26 AM »

Property rights from a principled libertarian standpoint are the opposite of a might-makes-right system.

Property rights reduce conflict, by providing as much as possible an unambiguous answer to "Who gets to choose?"

There are only two ways to deal with scarce resources. We can fight over them, or we can recognize property rights.

This is why the anarchist "left" is so dangerous. By denying property rights, they set up a situation where not only is there no principle by which to avoid conflicts over resources, but there isn't even a "state" with an incentive to limit that conflict simply to preserve itself.

I don't think one day, out of nowhere, some super-Einstein-level intellect said, "Golly, here's a new and wonderful invention I'm going to call 'Private Property' and here's how it's going to work..." It is my opinion that, all retroactive justifications aside, the idea 'Private Property', just like the idea 'money', came out of social interaction that just worked better than anything else.

We have formalized it, by generally accepting "original occupation" and "first use", but this is a recognition of what people were doing anyway, not an ordination of the One True Way By God.
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