Friday, May 11, 2012

404: The Utopia of the Free Market - private property

Thomas More (1478 - 1535) writes in his Utopia" Wherever you are, you always should work. There is no excuse for laziness" But only 6 hours a day. 

You must keep in mind that from the Ancient Greek till the 16th century,  it was not done to get rich by working.

You increased your wealth by war and conquering enemies. Thus the first thing a conquering army did in those days was to plunder. 

Contrary to tradition, labor does not only mean the creation of wealth and prosperity for the Utopians, but also to take in possession the land that they work on.

And when the number of Utopians increased and there wasn't land enough a group moved on to reclaim new land by their labor, driving away the natives who never had done anything with the land.

This is still Thomas More speaking, but aren't you recognizing already a familiar pattern? Here you get implicitly all theory on labor, private property and colonization as formulated by John Locke.

Where it was only a Utopia for Thomas More, more than a hundred years later it was reality for John Locke (1632 - 1704), closely related to the development of individualism (think of the Cartesian Cogito).

This brought Locke to the view, that is was a law of nature that every human being owns his own person. And the next step was: "The labor of his body and the work by his hands, we can say, really belong to him".

Thence, when  a person cultivates land, the land and the products of the land are his property. With this theory of labor and private property the colonization of America was easily justified.

In those days two free markets opened: one of labor and one of land as private property. Labor and land can be bought and sold. Thus dissolved the traditional bonds of community and reciprocity.

This led to the situation that the buyer just "bought" labor by paying wages. When the wages were hardly enough to keep the worker alive, that was no longer the responsibility of the buyer of labor.

Thus liberalism was born,which was literally copied by Ayn Rand for her utopia, Atlantis. In "The Ayn Rand Lexicon", paragraph "Property rights" we read that every person possesses his own body 

and from this one derives the right "to think, to work and to keep the results - which means the right of property". Locke's ideas directly copied into Atlantis.

A justification of individualism and private property in a more moral context I found in The Internet Encyclopedia of philosophy:

When effectively protected by the state, the right to private property secures for human individuals a sphere of personal jurisdiction, the right to acquire and hold the props, as it where, with which to order one’s life. 

Moral virtues such as generosity, kindness, courage, moderation, prudence and the rest are all imperatives,  which are meaningful, when you engage with the natural world. 

If one is not in charge of some of that world, at least oneself, one cannot conduct oneself virtuously. So the right to one’s life, liberty and property are necessary conditions for a morally significant or meaningful life in human communities.

It needs to be noted here, as a significant aside, that even if we are essentially individuals, this doesn’t mean we are not also naturally members of societies. 
But, as moral agents and as candidates for membership in some human communities or societies, we are morally responsible to take into consideration and never neglect the fact 
that we must judge those societies as to whether they do adequate justice to our individuality, most generally, and whether they best serve our flourishing.
- end quote.

Here you have the ingredients of the free market: individualism as our basic social belief, labor, that can be bought and private property as a sphere of personal jurisdiction.

The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:19] herman Bergson: The floor is yours for remarks and questions
[13:20] Kime Babenco: Thanks professor
[13:20] Debbie Dee (framdor): mmm
[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): thinking
[13:21] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:21] Velvet (velvet.braham): Not much controversy this week!
[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i guess we are all set to town property
[13:21] Kime Babenco: I guess there is a lot of confusion on common property and individual property as well here. For example.. The oil.. Does it own to the dictators of a country ? To the company it explores it ? Or to the common wellness of a country ?
[13:21] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:21] herman Bergson: Most important issue of today is that the balance shifted to individualism
[13:21] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well I thought it was just me, but I found it difficult to concentrate today
[13:22] herman Bergson: Wasnt easy Merlin...indeed
[13:22] Velvet (velvet.braham): Shifting to individualism give one more control over one's life.
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: is privat property really a sphere of personal jurisdiction? I doubt on that
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I wondered
[13:22] Debbie Dee (framdor): so does the utopian ideal best serve our flourishing?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Well Lizzy...that is the big issue....
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well first of all we need the money usually to get pproperty
[13:23] Velvet (velvet.braham): my private property is!
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and then pay taxes to the state so others can get to my porperty
[13:23] herman Bergson: th epoint is that we now live in a society where labor as well as private property are restricted in all kinds of way
[13:23] Debbie Dee (framdor): You can never really own property - it was there long before you, and you die....
[13:23] oola Neruda: the best way to get a million dollars is to start with four million dollars
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oola
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:24] oola Neruda: it's true
[13:24] Velvet (velvet.braham): Debbie just said something profound
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): doh;)
[13:24] Velvet (velvet.braham): I think of my property as mine, but she's right
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): its like trying to own a river
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): That came up in a previous week
[13:24] herman Bergson: is about a legal right to the possession of objects...
[13:25] herman Bergson: not the fact that they existed already before you came on earth...
[13:25] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes thats it. you have a right - you don't really own the property
[13:25] herman Bergson: My house in RL is older than me for instance...but it is private property
[13:25] Mick Nerido: your home is your castle
[13:25] Velvet (velvet.braham): okay, so we're back to my property being mine.... for now.
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: you can't do on your land what you want, every society has rules
[13:25] Debbie Dee (framdor): well - the rights have been passed on for money.
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Another example, if you own an island you cannot be its government
[13:26] Velvet (velvet.braham): Debbie, only for the next two years!
[13:26] Velvet (velvet.braham): then it's MINE
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): a lease?
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): oh i seee ;)
[13:26] Velvet (velvet.braham): mortgage
[13:26] herman Bergson: That is a funny issue Merlin....
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): what if your beach side property falls in the sea?
[13:26] herman Bergson: You can possess an island indeed...
[13:27] herman Bergson: but normaly it is within the borders of an existing country
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that happens debbie
[13:27] Kime Babenco: Yes, if you have the money.. (and hurry... )
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): better have good insurance
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Sovernity is like ownership
[13:27] Debbie Dee (framdor): During your life time - yes.
[13:27] oola Neruda: what responsibility do you have to the property/owner that is on your border... individualism can get sticky
[13:27] herman Bergson: There is something magic about it....
[13:28] herman Bergson: you own the island....and yet can not be the government….
[13:28] herman Bergson: it is an odd situation...
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:28] herman Bergson: Just keep in mind that WE invented the idea of private property....
[13:28] Lizzy Pleides: if i have jurisdiction on my property i could kill somebody on my land without being punished
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Look at the Falkins
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes MIck...good example...
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): what lizzy?
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): as we invented most conventions in society
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Not in UK Lizzy
[13:29] oola Neruda: i could poison the groundwater under my property
[13:29] Jaelle Faerye: it's the animal notion of territory, somehow, i think
[13:29] Lizzy Pleides: nowhere
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): In uk you cannot even make it dangerous for intruders
[13:29] herman Bergson: oola !!! :-)
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): you cant kill somebody, just for being on the property you have rights to
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): booby traps etc
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: well you cant do bad things anywhere i hope
[13:29] Velvet (velvet.braham): nods at Bejita
[13:29] oola Neruda: it is done all the time... to rivers and streams and the air as well
[13:29] Kime Babenco: Oh ?
[13:30] Velvet (velvet.braham): wait, why are we killing people and poisoning groundwater?
[13:30] Mick Nerido: its like individual cells in a body
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: hmm many countries dump acids and other chemicals like cyanide and so right out
[13:30] Lizzy Pleides: don't be afraid i am a peaceful person,:-)
[13:30] Kime Babenco: I have and electrical fence on top of my wall, (3meters high) with 8000 volts on it... better not to touch...
[13:30] herman Bergson: Wait.....
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: thats not a good thing
[13:30] Mick Nerido: they must cooperate or the body dies
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): goodness
[13:30] Debbie Dee (framdor): So, if your property is enveloped in radioactivity. like fukushima, what happens to your ownership?
[13:31] herman Bergson: all you say show that the concept of PRIVATE property isn't clear at all anymore
[13:31] herman Bergson: as it was to Locke
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: guess its lost then
[13:31] Kime Babenco: Exactly
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: cause how can you ever get to that without dying from radiation
[13:31] herman Bergson: But let's get to the core....
[13:31] Debbie Dee (framdor): so did you ever own it then?
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we still have rights but must obey laws that protect the land of others nearby
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: interesting question
[13:31] herman Bergson: We are investigating the Utopia of the free market...
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): the invisible utopia
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): we are small parasites on the earth, and have never owned it.
[13:32] oola Neruda: ronald regan said government is the problem
[13:32] herman Bergson: and what we see here is that this market regarding private property isnt that free at all....
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: the own freedom is subordinated to common rights
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): we consume it.
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes oola....
[13:32] herman Bergson: Like the Tea Party does....
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Debbie I agree
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): ty merlin ;)
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): :)
[13:33] Kime Babenco: Most countries not Japan) have their nuclear plants near the border with another country... So in case of accident, 50 % chance the wind drives it to another country.
[13:33] herman Bergson: So what the Tea Party people claim...less government is a Utopia too
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): well, too much government is a problem...
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: well nuclear plants always must be built so they can get cooling water
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): lol
[13:33] herman Bergson: Our situation has become so complex from a legal point of view....government or no government
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): so next to water resources.... very smart
[13:34] herman Bergson: Let me give you an example...
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor): And the complexity is different in each country.
[13:34] herman Bergson: My computer...thta is private property...
[13:34] oola Neruda: some people say...get rid of the EPA
[13:34] Kime Babenco: But not on the beach as in Japan... the country that has 1000 earthquakes every year... and Tsunami is a Japanese word... That was really stupid to built it there
[13:34] herman Bergson: ok private means ..nobody may steal it....
[13:35] herman Bergson: but can I dispose of it just like that throwing it on the street?
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hmm indeed but probably the only way where they could get enough cooling so they should never built them ever in first place
[13:35] Fred123 Aiten: no because you don't own the street
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but everyone need power
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: and that must come from somewhere
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): but you could give it away.
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): the computer
[13:36] Mick Nerido: better erase the hard drive...
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): the power - we will have to learn to do with less
[13:36] Kime Babenco: Many countries and companies payed a lot to dictators to be allowed to get oil from those countries Is that steeling ?
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): give away the knowledge on the computer too.
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie but the next owner has the same problem....private doesnt mean absolute freedom to do as you like with you r property
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hmm you should not waste energy like many does
[13:36] Velvet (velvet.braham): you could throw the computer on the street
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): true herman.
[13:37] Velvet (velvet.braham): what's stopping you?
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: but the industries still are needing lots, muhge motors welders and so that need to run 24/7 in paper moills ect
[13:37] Mick Nerido: what about intellectual property rights?
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes mick
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: the base insustry for making paper steel ect are also needing the most power
[13:37] herman Bergson: Interesting Mick...
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): Micro$oft would have you believe you cant give your computer software away
[13:38] herman Bergson: They are guaranteed by all kinds of laws...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:38] Kime Babenco: I personally think... intellectual rights should not last longer than 3 years
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: and now they scream about file sharing worse then murder sort of
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: the hollywood lawyers
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): Open source standards and software result in a bigger commons
[13:38] Mick Nerido: genes are even patented
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie an interesting source as the new commons...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: and Apple sues everyone like kids in a sandbox throwing sand on each other
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): the phones, wifi, android, driving rules - all open standards
[13:39] Kime Babenco: That's beyond madness
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: for small things that seems you cant get patented by logical sense
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: yet they can
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: and wins
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: UUUGH
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i have to go..sorry herman..rl is calling
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): by Beertje
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye   
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: TC Beertje
[13:39] Jaelle Faerye: bye Beertje, nice seeing you :)
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok Beertje, you are excused of course
[13:40] herman Bergson: :-)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: cu beertje
[13:40] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye B
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): I love the open source/ standards developments - we can build on top of each others foundations
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): a bit like sl ;)
[13:40] Velvet (velvet.braham): I agree
[13:40] herman Bergson: Kind of intellectual communism ^_^
[13:41] Kime Babenco: Imagine just I invent something important... To require a pattent I would need so much money that I don't have...
[13:41] Velvet (velvet.braham): it is, yes!
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes. I think it is a strong model to drive innovation
[13:41] oola Neruda: you need four million to make one million KIME
[13:41] Kime Babenco: Only big companies can
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: Linux should get a better chance, but one big thing that is in the way is all games today and also graphic cards do all performance on direct x which is windows only
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: and thus gaming is locked to windows machines only
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): When i worked for a big corporation, patents were used to drive out competitors
[13:42] herman Bergson: that is the meaning of it indeed Debbie
[13:42] Kime Babenco: Good never one took a patent on the wheel... lol
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: hahaha yes that would be bad
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): Causing monopolistic practices, that often didnt benefit society
[13:43] herman Bergson: One of the basics of traditional society....the redistribution of goods....related to the needs
[13:43] oola Neruda: the media is working on being monopolies
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: start as said to get really tired of these meaningless patent wars that end up with hindering development and giving us worse and locked down and more expensive products
[13:43] oola Neruda: competing monopolies
[13:43] herman Bergson: Now it is monopolizing goods...
[13:44] oola Neruda: so they can use propaganda effectively
[13:44] Kime Babenco: They are already protesting now on my video recorder... because I don't like to watch the publicities
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): Bottled water is my pet hate.
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: thats greediness by all means that apple uses, apple is greediness personified id say
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): ooooh wait, now we are back to Ayn Rand's Atlantis!
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): in software
[13:44] Velvet (velvet.braham): some people are creating open source software
[13:44] herman Bergson: laughs...yes Debbie
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: thats sad cause they make good stuff in basics the computers are good but all could be much better
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: and not locked down like iphone is for ex
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well tumble dryers are my pet hate
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: Apple want to control too much
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): next we will have potted air.
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): •´¨*•.¸. HahahaA •´¨*•.¸. 
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oops I'm Sorry!
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yeah merlin - use the washing line ;)
[13:45] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): :))
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: heheheh
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well...
[13:46] Debbie Dee (framdor): our current situation around individuality, and owning stuff, is driving us into a wall at high speed.
[13:46] Kime Babenco: They should people that write computer viruses condemn to repay all damage they made by working in jail... Maybe then they will doubt a bit... However, frankly , I believe the antivirus distributers make some themselves
13:47] Velvet (velvet.braham): Kime, you may have something there
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): heehe
[13:47] herman Bergson: the subjects of today to think about are private property ansd especially labor.....the fact that labor can be 'bought'
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): I have used open source software for 7 years now. I will never go back to broken Windows
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): We do get a long way off-topic sometimes
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes Merlin...^_^
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes we do...
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): but it's fun ;)
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): one thing leads to another
[13:48] Kime Babenco: I hear in some countries... some people can be arrested, but buy freedom again... What nonsense is that ?
[13:48] herman Bergson: I'll continue next Tuesday with a next topic....
[13:48] Mick Nerido: thanks Herman
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Slightly off-topic but today's 'In Our Time' on BBC Radio4 was about Game Theory... which is a study of ethics.
[13:48] Kime Babenco: OK, Thanks Herman
[13:48] Lizzy Pleides: thank you Professor
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): great lecture - thanks Prof
[13:48] Jaelle Faerye: thanks Herman
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ty
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: interesting as always
[13:49] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your good participation in the debate again....
[13:49] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Today was one to read back
[13:49] Fred123 Aiten: Thanks herman
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yes Merlin, I understand your feeling...I agree
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): see you all next week
[13:49] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: ok cu next time
[13:49] Bejiita Imako:
[13:50] herman Bergson: I'll post it in the blog as soon as possible
[13:50] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye tout le monde
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): well bye all...

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