Wednesday, May 12, 2010

252: on Poprerty...a real conclusion

One thing is clear. The only place where private property in the most strict sense of the word exists, is in Second Life. Whatever you posses there, you can do with it as you like, no matter what consequences it might have for others.

They won't sue you, they can't hurt you. They may protest, but you just need to shrug your shoulders and continue your Virtual Life as if nothing has happens. You just abandoned some land, for instance. So, whatever……

This means, that we need a different interpretation of the concept of private property and may conclude that the Roman law concept of the sovereign right of property – the right of the proprietor to do with his property as he pleases, "to use and abuse," can not be uphold.

Due to the industrial revolution the concept of property was a hot issue in the 19th century. Even to such and extend that French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his book What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.(1840) formulated the famous statement: "La propriété, c'est le vol!" [Property is theft!]

But as Karl Marx already pointed out, the statement is self-refuting and unnecessarily confusing, writing that "since 'theft' as a forcible violation of property presupposes the existence of property"

However, the idea wasn't new as Rousseau once wrote: ""The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.

From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows:

Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." (Discourse on Inequality ,1754)

To end this line of thinking with a joke: "Why do anarchists drink herbal tea? Because proper tea is theft"

The two major justifications given for original property are effort and scarcity. The effort principle goes back yo John Locke and his idea of mixing your labor with an object. For something to be economically scarce, it must necessarily have the exclusivity property - that use by one person excludes others from using it.

Any society with an interest in avoiding conflict needs a system of rules. And from this point of view David Hume (1763) concluded that there are property rights because of and to the extent that the existing law, supported by social customs, secure them.

This might lead to the conclusion that there is no inherent or necessary connection between the validity conditions of law and ethics or morality and laws are rules made, whether deliberately or unintentionally, by human beings.

Thus property appears to be maybe the most sensitive political subject ever. And as history will show, it has given birth to quite opposite political systems based on how property is defined by law.

The collapse of socialist systems in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989 has been regarded as the natural justification of the existence of property and a justification of private property as well.

This may have lead to regard it as justified to privately accumulate as much property as possible as a personal goal, like the big banks have done since the 80s, which has resulted in the financial crisis we have to face these days.

The next crisis has already announced itself, when you look at countries like Greece where a small group has accumulated lots of property at the expense of a whole country and its economy, which even endangers the whole euro zone.

It may show that despite all political theories and laws we still have not found the right way to deal with property in such a sense that it is beneficial to all of society instead of beneficial for just a small group.

I guess we are still at the beginning of defining the concept of property in such a way that is will lead to a just global society, where it is the goal of political theory to achieve a just and fair distribution of property, or in other words a just access to the resources of this earth for everyone.

The Discussion

[13:25] herman Bergson: So much on property..
[13:25] CONNIE Eichel: ty :)
[13:25] Daruma Boa: *•.¸('*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´)¸
[13:25] Daruma Boa: .•*♥¨`•APPLAUSE!!!°•´¨` ♥.
[13:25] Daruma Boa: ¸.•*(¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸)`*•.¸
[13:25] Daruma Boa: Hey!
[13:25] herman Bergson: thank you Daruma
[13:25] oola Neruda: what about griefers... how they are using their property
[13:26] herman Bergson: Nothing special about them...
[13:26] Zinzi Serevi: what property?
[13:26] Zinzi's translator: what property?
[13:26] herman Bergson: IN RL terms they would be called criminals and put behind bars
[13:26] Bruce Mowbray: ;-)
[13:27] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:27] Repose Lionheart: I agree that we still just at the beginning of defining property in a way that will produce a just society
[13:27] herman Bergson: Here the get a death sentence....BANNED for ever
[13:27] Repose Lionheart: hehehe
[13:27] Bruce Mowbray: In nature, "property" seems, in some species, equal to "territory."
[13:27] herman Bergson: YeS Bruce..
[13:27] Repose Lionheart: interesting
[13:28] Bruce Mowbray: Does that correlate to "use of resources"?
[13:28] Repose Lionheart: so...a natural analog for human notions of property
[13:28] herman Bergson: The prey captured is defended against others too..a property effect
[13:28] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Bruce,..but in nature no lion kills 10 zebras...just one to have food
[13:29] Bruce Mowbray: Excellent point.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Humans would even kill 100 have dead zebras
[13:29] Zinzi Serevi: a fox kills 10 chickens and eats one
[13:29] Zinzi's translator: a fox kills 10 chickens and one eats
[13:29] Repose Lionheart: or millions of buffalo
[13:29] Bruce Mowbray: domesticated chickens... than is.
[13:29] herman Bergson: true Zinzi...
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Repose
[13:30] herman Bergson: But Zoinzi I think there is a reasonable explanation for that behavior...
[13:30] Bruce Mowbray: What would a "just" use of resources entail, then?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well Bruce there you hit the central nerve...
[13:31] herman Bergson: if you assume that we as organisms on this earth just are here...where does the property idea come from?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Nobody owns anything or everybody owns everything...
[13:32] herman Bergson: so just means that we all have to share the resources to live a comfortable live
[13:32] Bruce Mowbray: I think it has to do with being "close" to ourselves physically.
[13:32] herman Bergson: I think it has to do with the question...why should a human being get a bonus of 10 million dollars for his work?
[13:33] Bruce Mowbray: What is the "just" use of resources meant that no one could "own" more than whatever was within twenty feet of himself?
[13:33] herman Bergson: Could that money not be spent in a more social way?
[13:33] Zinzi Serevi: yes i agree
[13:33] Zinzi's translator: yes i agree
[13:33] ZANICIA Chau: Excuse me emergency to deal with
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well Bruce that was in 1763 John Locke's idea too
[13:34] Bruce Mowbray: Oh --- so MONEY is property now?
[13:34] Repose Lionheart: problem with capitalism is that it has no moral core
[13:34] Repose Lionheart: and life is lived on a moral axis
[13:34] herman Bergson: yes Repose...just the idea of property..
[13:34] herman Bergson: yes is property
[13:34] oola Neruda: the idea of communal "property" is not always working... in malawi, feb. is "starvation month"... when it comes... everyone who has food is expected to share
[13:34] Repose Lionheart: capitalism and its notio0ns of property rights are not finally true to what we are
[13:35] Bruce Mowbray: It seems to me that the "just" use of resources would have to involve respect for the land, etc. from which those resources came and to which they will return.
[13:35] oola Neruda: there is no incentive to save food ahead because when the time comes you have to share it... so you eat it while you can
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes oola...human beings are so primitive and selfish by nature it seems
[13:36] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:36] herman Bergson: We still havent learnt to share
[13:36] Bruce Mowbray: We share "common property" all the time.
[13:36] Repose Lionheart: true
[13:36] herman Bergson: This earth produces enough food for all inhabitants...yet we see starvation...while nobody owns this earth
[13:37] herman Bergson: We still are a primitive species..despite of all philosophy and science
[13:37] Repose Lionheart: just what i was thinking just now ㋡
[13:38] Bruce Mowbray: we have a "noble obligation" to share....?
[13:38] Zinzi Serevi: just survival of the fittest
[13:38] Zinzi's translator: just survival of the fittest
[13:38] herman Bergson: Dont despare...we made progress through the centuries
[13:38] Repose Lionheart: yes, we do
[13:38] Bruce Mowbray: I agree with Repose on that.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Not anymore Zinzi...
[13:38] Repose Lionheart: and I agree with Bruce ㋡
[13:38] herman Bergson: now it is survival of the richest ^_^
[13:38] oola Neruda: perhaps this is the root of things like "love thy neighbor as thyself" etc
[13:39] Daruma Boa: true zinzi
[13:39] Bruce Mowbray: ;-)
[13:39] Bruce Mowbray: do unto others are you would have them. . .
[13:39] Bruce Mowbray: as
[13:39] Daruma Boa: yesherman sadly true
[13:39] oola Neruda: :-)
[13:40] Zinzi Serevi: greed
[13:40] Zinzi's translator: Greed
[13:40] herman Bergson: We are taliking about 2000 years of philosophy
[13:40] herman Bergson: Homo sapiens for 30.000 years..
[13:40] Bruce Mowbray: Is one solution to expland our concept of "common" property and to reduce our concept of "private" property?
[13:40] herman Bergson: the universe for billions of years....
[13:40] Bruce Mowbray: expand
[13:40] herman Bergson: we are just a flash of light..
[13:41] Bruce Mowbray: a "flash of light" understanding does not feed hungry or house homeless...
[13:41] herman Bergson: we should come back to earth in 2000 years and see if the homo sapiens is stal around
[13:41] Bruce Mowbray: don't hold your breath
[13:41] oola Neruda: nods
[13:42] herman Bergson: No Bruce..what I mean to say is that we makeprogress...but it is in a very slow pace
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: recent attempts to extend moral insights into modern economic organization (communism, socialism) have failed or underperformed
[13:42] Bruce Mowbray: I undersand.
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: but that doesn't mean it can't be done
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: we learn from our mistakes
[13:42] Bruce Mowbray: Each of us ALREADY KNWOS what needs to be done.
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: regroup and go forward
[13:42] herman Bergson: YEs Repose..the big banks are abck to business as usual...
[13:42] Bruce Mowbray: knows.
[13:42] herman Bergson: as if nothing has happened...
[13:43] herman Bergson: utter arrogance and th eknowledge that governments will keep them upright
[13:43] Bruce Mowbray: we know what needs to be done.
[13:43] oola Neruda: some wheels...when put in motion... are not that easily undone... like what we do to the earth
[13:43] oola Neruda: like that oil spill for example... there are others
[13:43] Repose Lionheart: yes, oola, seems like the problems are bigger at each turn of the wheel
[13:44] herman Bergson: ye sBruce ..we all know, but only a few do act upon it
[13:44] Bruce Mowbray: yep.
[13:44] oola Neruda: money = property
[13:44] Bruce Mowbray: credit = property??
[13:44] oola Neruda: wry smiles
[13:44] Repose Lionheart: hehehe
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well..I made my point today on property...
[13:45] oola Neruda: oil spills and pollution etc... are like girefers
[13:45] herman Bergson: And I am thinking about my next step for the next lecture..
[13:45] oola Neruda: bankers are too
[13:46] Repose Lionheart: ohhh...good analogy that
[13:46] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:46] Daruma Boa: i agree
[13:46] Repose Lionheart: oh, what's that, Prof?
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well...I am other political philosopher or the idea that all men are equal...
[13:47] Bruce Mowbray: and women....
[13:47] Zinzi Serevi: thanks Bruce
[13:47] Zinzi's translator: thanks Bruce
[13:47] Repose Lionheart: ㋡
[13:47] oola Neruda: yay bruce
[13:47] Josiane Llewellyn: :)
[13:47] herman Bergson: it is about sharing the resources of this earth...and we are all equally entitled to enjoy the use of these resoruces
[13:48] Repose Lionheart: yes, definitely not part of the discussion where i live ㋡
[13:48] Zinzi Serevi: i look forward to it
[13:48] Zinzi's translator: i look forward to it
[13:48] herman Bergson: in dutch ?men? is translated as meaning ?paople? Bruce.. ^_^
[13:48] Bruce Mowbray: generic sexuality.... I like it!
[13:48] oola Neruda: chinese uses the same word for men and women
[13:48] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:49] Bruce Mowbray: generic gender....
[13:49] herman Bergson: Then I love chinese oola ^_^
[13:49] Abraxas Nagy: ewww
[13:49] oola Neruda: :-)
[13:49] Zinzi Serevi: lol
[13:49] Zinzi's translator: lol
[13:49] herman Bergson: least their cuisine.. ㋡
[13:49] Bruce Mowbray: Is gender not also a form of "property"?
[13:50] herman Bergson: yes Bruce..already John Locke said that we at least own our also our gender defining parts
[13:50] Bruce Mowbray: So, I "own" my gender -- not just "be" it.
[13:50] Daruma Boa: haha
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: ;-)
[13:51] herman Bergson: It IS your property Bruce...!
[13:51] Abraxas Nagy: to be is to own
[13:51] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: You're damn right it is!
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: that's pretty metaphorical
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: hand off!
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: hands
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: Mine!
[13:51] herman Bergson: Well...may I thank you all for your participation and good discussion
[13:51] Bruce Mowbray: THANK you, Professor.
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed!
[13:51] Abraxas Nagy: thank you professor
[13:51] Zinzi Serevi: thanks to you prof
[13:51] Zinzi's translator: thanks to you Prof
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: Thank you, Professor ㋡
[13:52] oola Neruda: nice, prof... :-)
[13:52] Abraxas Nagy: as always i got food for thought again
[13:52] Daruma Boa: thank u
[13:52] herman Bergson: you are digesting my private property then ideas
[13:52] Daruma Boa: so the next class is thursday?
[13:53] herman Bergson: yes Daruma
[13:53] Abraxas Nagy: I am i guess sa
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