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Everything posted by Randroid

  1. I find moving from one city to the next quite bothersome and expensive, even without having to look for new employment. If thousands, probably even tens of thousands of people (on a city scale) are that discontent with their government, a changing of the guards should be much easier, as it can be done at the polls. Churches and hotels own their buildings and the land they stand on, that's why they can ask you to leave. It's private property. The government does not own its territory, only the buildings and equipment that it needs to operate. You are comparing apples and oranges. If we were to apply that argument to government, the law would only have effect inside a police station.
  2. Why would an electorate like that vote for a rational man running on an Objectivist platform? In order for our advice to be compatible with reality, your scenario must be compatible with reality.
  3. As far as I understand it, you are implying that land should come at "zero" price because (to you) the fact that it doesn't seems to necessitate the redistribution of wealth in order to compensate for exactly this fact. You specifically said that such redistribution were not necessary or warranted if land was available at "zero" cost.
  4. That is an interest that everyone has, not just people who work for the government. Therefore, it is not rational to pack up and move somewhere else if the police in your country sucks. You would just replace them with more competent officers. The difference is that neither religions nor sport teams have any legitimate claim on a monopoly in their area. They don't want you to follow rival religions or sport teams, but there is nothing they could do about it. They can only decide that they don't want to be your friend any more.
  5. First, the purpose of government is the protection of all individual rights, specifically without discrimination of any sort. That means that everyone within its borders (protection of citizens abroad is optional) must receive equal protection, not just those citizens who are paid up. Second, ambulances are not government business, but let's say that nation A has an air force and nation B doesn't, in addition to the difference in conviction rates. However, this would be "competition" between different nations, each with one sovereign government and separate territories. Is this what you mean or are you talking about two or more governments competing in the same geographical area?
  6. Your ideas are contradictory: Well, what is it? Voluntary or forced? If it's voluntary, then there is no way the police could just unilaterally raise their tax. I think this idea about competing governments is based on the premise that it is proper for government to initiate force against innocent people, which is false. Proper governments have nothing to compete with. Government A: Come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens! Government B: No, come live here, we do not initiate force against our citizens even harder!
  7. There seems to be a misunderstanding here. I agree that addressing people with their given (first) name can show a lack of respect in most Western cultures. Using someone's family name in combination with a generic but polite form of address (Mr./Ms.) should be perfectly acceptable, though. ETA: I can see that refusing to use someone's title can be offensive, but it should not be considered a breach of etiquette or even uncivilized. I mean, can anyone decide that the proper way to address them is "Grand Poobah of the Universe and Prettiest Witch in Hogwarts for Life"? I would think so, but am I really uncivilized for being disinclined to call them that?
  8. It's one thing to insult someone. Not calling a priest "father" is hardly insulting or uncivilized, though. "Mr. Insertnamehere" is a perfectly polite, respectful and accurate form of address in Western culture. Regardless of a person's job, title or office, they have a name and it's proper to use it in a respectful fashion, IMO.
  9. If a catholic priest or anyone else asked me to call him father, my response would be something along the lines of: "You don't look like my father."
  10. Thank you, David! ETA: Um, I just noticed that the video file is 1,8 GB in size. I think I'll just grab the audio for now, but in case you have to pay for traffic, you might want to think about adding some compression.
  11. I fully agree with you, Rudmer, but I'm fairly certain that so far there have been no executions of convicts later proven to be innocent. People who had been sentenced to death have been proven to be innocent (and subsequently released from death row) numerous times, but an actual execution of an innocent man would 1) make the whole movie "The Life of David Gale" entirely pointless and 2) be at the top of a Google search. It is only a matter of time, though.
  12. Are you joking? I challenge you to "prove the existence of intrinsic value or scarcity rents or whatever you'd like to call it and why IV/SR is commonly owned before you jump to your conclusions" and you come up with this: In other words, "I can't explain it, you just have to believe it - or at least take the burden of proof off of me!" Sorry, not good enough.
  13. Nice. 10 minutes are not much time for what you have to do, but you might just pull it off. I would love to hear/read what your opponent comes up with.
  14. Oh, I believe I do understand your position. You may start supporting it any time now. If the land is theoretically useful, but practically unusable, it is still useless. Like I said, potential use is not actual use. Unused = without use = useless. We are moving in circles, because you fail to understand my point. I point out that the value of the land was created by the investment of effort; yet you still claim (without support) that value was only added to preexisting value. Preexisting value that, according to you, is somehow collectively owned, another claim without support. Food that could be grown on fertile land does not nourish you, only food that is actually grown on fertile land will satiate your hunger. Likewise, the possiblity of using land does not give you any claim to the land or what is produced on it, only actually using the land makes it your property. You've been doing this for quite a while now. Shifting the burden of proof, changing the phrasing of your arguments but never really changing your position... Why don't you start over? We keep moving in circles because you keep insisting that we accept your premises and take your argument from there. Take everything you supposedly learned from this thread and rewrite your current position from scratch. This time, prove the existence of intrinsic value or scarcity rents or whatever you'd like to call it and why IV/SR is commonly owned before you jump to your conclusions.
  15. And yet again, you try to sneak that assumption into the debate without proving anything. Again, you talk about the redistribution of "scarcity rents" and completely ignore that you have failed (for lack of even trying, I might add) to convice any of us of the existence of "scarcity rents" in the first place. Potential use is not actual use.
  16. That has already been explained, but I'll do it again. I doubt that I will get through to you this time, but I'm stubborn. They applied their time, their mind, their effort and other resources - in other words, a part of their lives - to the task of making the unused, useless land useful. They invested themselves, their very being, into making this land productive. Their investment of their limited lives into their land is what makes the land and everything they gain from it their property. To deprive these men of their land or of some of the things they produced through their efforts is to deprive these men of a part of their lives. Freestyle has already called you out on this one, but I want to do it again for emphasis: How would you know who had the intention/capability to use the land? Everyone who says "Hey, I coulda/woulda/shoulda done that"? This is not about the discovery of fertile qualities. Even if it is common knowledge that land is fertile, if it still goes unused it is still unowned. Only the actual use of a previously unused resource turns it into the property of the user - and no one else's. I hate to break it to you, but as long as you think that any collective (whether that collective is composed of everyone or just "potential producers") has any claim on an individual's life, you have not understood the first thing about individual rights.
  17. The latter part (the assumption that there is a problem to be solved) is where I disagree. Consistent with the properties of captitalism? Hardly! In your world, people do have a right to take what they have not earned (the "rent") and don't have the right to keep what they did earn, i.e. the money they are forced to pay as "rent". It is the opposite of capitalism. You claim that 1-4 did not earn the land, but how did everyone else earn it? By sitting on their collective asses? By virtue of wasting oxygen? What wrongs of the past? I have shown you in my example that no wrong was done. 1-4 were not "allowed" to own the land then. The land was unowned. Finders, keepers. There was no need to get permission from anyone then, and there is no need to do so now. What you are saying is this: "If we don't want it, 1-4 can have it - but as soon as we become interested in it, it's no longer theirs, and never has been, they have to rent it from us." This is how small children think. "You can have all the boring toys, but all the good toys are mine. If one of your toys turns out to be not-so-boring after all, it immediately becomes my toy and no longer yours." It all boils down to this: You want free stuff and if you have to deprive someone else of his rights to get it, you're fine with that. Fancy talk about "scarcity rents" doesn't change anything, you're just a common looter. You still haven't explained why there is supposedly common ownership of all land. I'm beginning to think that you can't. You just keep repeating your premises about market values in the absence of a market and scarcity simultaneously being the source and destroyer of property rights. No matter how often you say it, we will not believe it until you can substantiate your claims.
  18. First, even on a small farm there is usually more than enough work for two or even three people, or many more depending on how much technology is available. More tech means less manpower required, but at the same time the employees need more skills. Second, there are many more jobs than just "farm help", e.g. maids, cooks, etc. Every farmer will probably need more than one employee, which evens out the supply and demand of labor. Many, if not most, marketable job skills are acquired on the job. Finally, capitalism (i.e. the consistent application of human rights) does not guarantee equality of outcome, nor does it attempt to. There is no right to take the unearned, only to keep what is earned. Any scheme of wealth redistribution, including "scarcity rents", reverses this and thereby nullifies human rights. --- Edited for typos.
  19. Your concern might be valid only if all non-landowners 1) do not want to be self-employed by choosing a profession that is not related to farming and 2) can only offer unskilled labor.
  20. Yes. Read freestyle's response. You are making two wrong assumptions: First, that there is a monopoly on food. There isn't. There is not one but eight suppliers of food, all of whom want to sell their food to 9 and thus compete for his business by offering lower prices until prices reach an equlibrium. Second, that 9's labor has no value. He is not begging for alms, he is offering value in exchange for value - to eight different potential buyers, who will, again, compete to make the best offer up to what his labor is worth to them.
  21. Wow. Just... wow! So, he has no right to free land only if he doesn't want free land in the first place, but as soon as he gets in the mood to have himself some land, he automatically has a right to it? First, you might as well admit that you flat out disagree - or that you didn't understand my point. Second, "want" is not a valid claim on anything, only production is. I want many things, but I can only claim what I earn. Seriously? "Enslave"? You obviously don't know the meaning of the word. 1-8 cannot charge 9 "any amount" - only what they expect him to be willing to pay. By the same principle, 9 can also very well set his own "wages" if he works as a musician - he charges what he thinks others will voluntarily pay. If they aren't willing to pay what he charges, he might want to reconsider whether what he offers is really that valuable. I don't have the time or patience to explain rights and economics to you from scratch, which is, sadly, necessary. You might want to put down Das Kapital for a while and read up on some real-world economics. I recommend Basic Economics; A Citizens Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.
  22. Imagine the world was flat and square, had an area of nine acres and a population of 9 people. One acre is occupied by a small village, where each man lives in a little hut surrounded by some land that he owns. The surrounding area is unowned land. One man decides to use an acre of unused land as farmland. He builds a fence, starts cultivating the land and claims the land as his property. The other 8 people were not using the land anyway, so they do not suffer any loss that the new farmer would have to reimburse them for. The others think, "Hey, land is good for stuff!" and seven of them claim the remaining seven acres. Same process. Unowned land = unused land = worthless land. No one loses anything. Note that one guy was too slow - there's no unused land left for him to claim. This, as far as I can tell, is what you mean by "demand at zero cost exceeds supply". Yet, he was not wronged and did not suffer any loss every time some available land was claimed. He wasn't using it then and he isn't using it now. No harm done. Your mistake is to assume that guy number 9 has any sort of right to land at "zero cost" (Zip has explained very succinctly that there is no such thing, either, but I'll let that slide for simplicity's sake). In fact, there is no right to free stuff, or to any stuff at all. Proper rights can only refer to actions, not things. It's like when you're at the supermarket late at night and some other guy grabs the last can of Ravioli from the shelf right before your eyes - he's not stealing from you, either. You did not have a right to that can of Ravioli and the guy does not owe anything to you or the rest of the customers in the supermarket for taking that can. Yes, the can was neither free nor provided by nature, but the same principles apply. You were simply too slow. If that is anybody's fault, it's your own.
  23. Our problem is not with your choice of words, but with your assumptions, i.e. the so far unfounded assumption that money "needs to be paid for the use of land just because of the fact that demand for land exceeds its supply". We don't care whether you call it "scarcity rent" or something else. Stop rephrasing, start substantiating.
  24. Ah, I see. There has indeed been a misunderstanding. We both speak English as a second language, it was bound to happen. Sorry! Okay, so national defense, police and the judicial system are legitimate functions of government and must not be provided by a free market. I agree. However, the only legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of individuals. That is the only reason to have government in the first place. 1. How you reconcile "protection of individual rights" and "collecting scarcity rent"? 2. You still haven't substantiated your claim that there is such a thing as "scarcity rent".
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