Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Private property rights in natural resources

Rate this topic


Saurabh
 Share

Recommended Posts

Now, I do believe in property rights. But, I also believe that a man does not have the right to claim property over land.

Because, a man can only own something that he either creates by his own effort, or exchanges (by offering in return a product of his effort to the creator).

Man's ownership over land follows none of the above two conditions.

This is a contradictory claim that I brought up like 10 pages ago and you never responded to:

A man cannot produce anything without ownership of the land (if only as standing room.) Therefore, if an individual cannot own original land, neither can he in the same sense own any of the fruits of his labor. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You cannot permit a man to own the fruits of his labor while denying him ownership of the original materials which he uses and transforms. It is either one or the other. To own his product, a man must also own the material which was originally a part of nature, and now has been remolded by him. Now that his labor has been inextricably mixed with land, he cannot be deprived of one without being deprived of the other. This applies to gold, wheat, whatever. It makes no difference. If man cannot own land, he cannot own anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 290
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

You would make every producer the indentured servant of every person who claims that he could have been the producer if he had just worked a little harder, gotten there first, or been born into the right family.

Zip,

How des this follow? All a producer will need to do is to bid for use of land. And they highest bidder will get that right. So, I do not understand your objection - can your clarify?

The idea that no one has a right to fence otherwise unclaimed or unoccupied land leads to the following absurdity: In order to fence some land in order to work or dig stuff up from it, one would have to ask permission of everyone else on Earth.

Bob,

Which is why in earlier socities it was allowed to appropriate land by fencing it. But, now we need to re-think.

My proposition does not require a producer to go and ask everyone for the right. He would just need to buy the right of usage from the market for usage rights of land.

Even though he did not create the 'original growing powers of the wheat'?

Randroid, I did not understand your concern, can you please elaborate?

You mean he has to buy Gold from someone who doesn't own it, either? Does not compute.

I do not want to debate about Gold right now, as I am not adequately prepared. Can you continue your debate w.r.t. Land and Wheat?

A man cannot produce anything without ownership of the land (if only as standing room.) Therefore, if an individual cannot own original land, neither can he in the same sense own any of the fruits of his labor.

2046,

I do not agree with you. One can take factors of production on rent, and still own the produce. Right? Help me undertand why one needs to own the factor of production to own the produce.

Edited by Saurabh
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zip,

How des this follow? All a producer will need to do is to bid for use of land. And they highest bidder will get that right. So, I do not understand your objection - can your clarify?

Bid from whom?

You present quite the moving target.

Why do you think it is that through 13 pages of this thread you have yet to come to a specific proposal with regard to this socialist plan of yours? The reaason is that the dismissal of land ownership calls into question the entire premise of property rights. This is why you won't name who is in charge of dolling out the property, this is why you won't say how you will remove the rightful current owners from their property, this is why you can't explain to anyone how the value added by a miner to gold is any different than the value added to a property by the owner renting it out to a farmer or any other tennant and this is why you won't detail any single part of your plan.

Edited by Zip
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not want to debate about Gold right now, as I am not adequately prepared. Can you continue your debate w.r.t. Land and Wheat?

I had checked out of this thread, but I'm sucked back in since we're back to gold. (Remember my basic thought experiment pages up that you ignored on multiple occasions?)

You will NEVER be adequately prepared to discuss gold so long as you hold your current position of inherent value without a valuer. Saurabh, this is very simple. What can I pay you with that I OWN? What can you sell to me that you OWN?

Gold? (Sorry... can't talk about that)

Paper money? How can we establish how much of that paper money I own? Obviously (according to you) the NATURAL resources used in the creation of that money are not the PROPERTY of any one person. How can we imagine a transaction when we cannot establish whether or not I "rightfully" own the entire value of the dollar I am to pay? But you just don't want to discuss this... yet? It matters. You must confront it.

Notice that EVERY notion you put forward falls apart if we attempt to define its fundamental principle, yet you continually want to discuss ONLY that final brick on the top of the pyramid and avoid placing the first brick down on solid soil. Every argument you put forward is an abstract thought floating on nothingness so long as you continue to miss the points that 1.) Man creates potential value only by the application of his knowledge, effort and action -- and 2.) value REQUIRES a valuer.

You are having trouble admitting to yourself that you do not truly accept the principle of individual rights. You are avoiding focusing on that principle so you cannot help but be driven by your instinct to view "man" as a collective entity. And thus you feel that the product of an INDIVIDUAL MAN's mind (which you contend contains "intrinsic value") must be distributed to a larger collective (first, everybody-- then you modified to all "producers"). You are off the rails and there is no way to get back on them unless you accept individuals as individuals and drop your idea of group rights to property.

Edited by freestyle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But you just don't want to discuss this... yet? It matters. You must confront it.

Freestyle,

I would be willing to discuss anything as long as it has a logical bearning on the main issue of debate. Whenever you find me irrationally saying - i dont want to discuss sth - please do challenge me.

You will NEVER be adequately prepared to discuss gold so long as you hold your current position of inherent value without a valuer. Saurabh, this is very simple. What can I pay you with that I OWN? What can you sell to me that you OWN?

Gold? (Sorry... can't talk about that)

Zip and Freestyle,

I may have ten reasons to not want to discuss Gold. I do not want to react to any allegations on why I am not discussing it - unless you show me that it is necessary to reolve the Gold issue to resolve the Land issue.

Now, I see following issues raised by you pertaining to the land issue:

1) Productive people will bid for land from whom?

2) Who is in charge of dolling out the property?

3) How to remove the rightful current owners from their property?

4) How can we imagine a transaction when we cannot establish whether or not I "rightfully" own the entire value of the dollar I am to pay?

my responses:

1) Prodcutive people will bid from the community of productive people -as the land will belong to this community. When i say belong, I mean that the community will be like a trustee of the land.

2), 3) These are not relevant for the moral issue being debated. There are relevant though for the implementation of my proposal. So, I will tackle is once the morality is established.

4) Let me reply this assuming a barter economy. A valid transaction would be, e.g., rice for wheat. Both of these are produced by manual effort, and (if) charges are paid to the owners of all factors of production.

Remember to distinguish between a factor of production (land) and product (wheat, rice, gold).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Prodcutive people will bid from the community of productive people -as the land will belong to this community. When i say belong, I mean that the community will be like a trustee of the land.

How can a community own land when one man cannot? Collective rights do not exists, there are only individual rights. There is no magic that can make an action moral for a mob when the same action is immoral for one man.

2), 3) These are not relevant for the moral issue being debated. There are relevant though for the implementation of my proposal. So, I will tackle is once the morality is established.

This is very much relevant to the moral issue, because whatever the implementation is, it will involve the initiation of force, which can never be moral.

Remember to distinguish between a factor of production (land) and product (wheat, rice, gold).

That distinction does not exist. There is only one factor of production: Man. Only man's effort turns useless dirt into valuable farmland. Only man's effort turns wheat into bread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4) How can we imagine a transaction when we cannot establish whether or not I "rightfully" own the entire value of the dollar I am to pay?

my responses:

4) Let me reply this assuming a barter economy. A valid transaction would be, e.g., rice for wheat. Both of these are produced by manual effort, and (if) charges are paid to the owners of all factors of production.

Nope. I can't let you get away with that.

Based on your arguments: How can I completely and rightfully own that rice since I had to exploit intrinsic value (which I do not rightfully own)? There is a portion of the VALUE of my rice that I do not own. And you're going to give me wheat for my rice? Is the value of wheat completely owned by you? (It is not, according to YOU! See below:)

...

Let us say wheat was produced from a land and sold in market for $100. $20 went to Labor as Wages. $20 went to the person who lent money (for seeds and equipment).

Now the question in what part of remaining $60 should fairly belong to the Landlord?

Let us say landlord has maintained his land overtime through proper irrigation, etc. Hence, he created and earned some value. Let us say that value is $20.

Now, we are left with $40.

Now, let us say that landlord applied his intelligence and could identify this most-productive land. Then I agree with you that he should get rewarded for his use of intelligence (but I elaborate on this in the last para). Let us say this part was $20.

Now, we are left with $20. This part has arisen without any human action of body or mind. This part has arisen due to scarcity of supply of land. This is the part that needs to the go to the society.

You are regressing to a simplistic barter economy in hopes that you can (again) IGNORE the real meaning of value.

Please, just see the light! According to YOU, 20% of the worth of that wheat you were going to give me for my rice is NOT yours. It has "arisen without any human action of body or mind". Because you take payment in rice and not dollars you are going to TAKE what you say "needs to go to the society"? You are now violating YOUR OWN STANDARDS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Productive people will bid for land from whom?

... ...

my responses:

1) Prodcutive people will bid from the community of productive people -as the land will belong to this community. When i say belong, I mean that the community will be like a trustee of the land.

So, the "community" will first expropriate land from its current owners! That is immoral.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2) Who is in charge of dolling out the property?

3) How to remove the rightful current owners from their property?

2), 3) These are not relevant for the moral issue being debated. There are relevant though for the implementation of my proposal. So, I will tackle is once the morality is established.

No. They are absolutely a moral issue because the ownership of the land speaks to Property which is a derivative of the right to life. Add this simple fact and what Randroid pointed out about you having to employ immoral force to accomplish this redistribution scheme and you have the moral crux of the matter.

I think you are equating equality with morality and justice, but in the process it seems you are willing to throw rights out completely... The Soviet union was based on the same flawed premise and that ended with tyranny and an oligarchic apparatchik, which is exactly what the nameless faceless bureaucrats dolling out the land in your perfect system would turn into.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1.

We use the word "own" in different contexts, and I think are misled by the fact that the same word is used in each context to think that ownership is the same thing in each context.

I own my pen

I own my house

I own my dog. (Actually my wife does.)

I can smash up my pen or do whatever with it.

My town has an ordinance prohibiting me to put up a sign larger than a certain size.

I like the term "husbandry" to refer to my relationship to the animals on our land: 1 dog and 7 chickens. I can't just smash them up if I feel like it.

2.

I was a great admirer of Ayn Rand. I have a signed copy of "Into. to Objectivist Epistemolgy" which I hope to sell for big bucks some day, thereby refuting the labor theory of value! I met her a couple of times. I remember a time when someone asked her about an incident in one of the novels where someone was killed basically for being an irrational person. I don't recall the details of the novel incident, but I recall that Ayn Rand gave her answer, then the person persisted a bit, asking "Yes, but don't even irrational people have a right to life?" Ayn Rand threw her shawl or something over her shoulder in a huff and said -- I can hear her accent now -- "If you still don't understand, after I have explained it to you, then I feel dirty even talking to you."

My blood ran cold at this way of treating a sincere, thoughtful human being. I had forgotten this incident for many decades, until I started posting my thoughts in these forums. I hate to say it, but I get that same feeling reading many of these postings. A flashback. This was my 1st interaction with other self-described objectivists in many decades, and it has not been pleasant. I would like to explore issues I am concerned about, but not at this price. Nominally, these forums are about philosophy. Philosophy means love of wisdom. Get a clue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We use the word "own" in different contexts, and I think are misled by the fact that the same word is used in each context to think that ownership is the same thing in each context.

The idea that a word changes its meaning when used in a different context negates the whole purpose of language. Own has a specific meaning, irrespective of context.

I like the term "husbandry" to refer to my relationship to the animals on our land: 1 dog and 7 chickens. I can't just smash them up if I feel like it.

You can use whatever word you like, and do whatever you like with your animals. But I own my animals, and if you cannot acknowledge and respect that, then we have a problem, because you're violating my rights.

I remember a time when someone asked her about an incident in one of the novels where someone was killed basically for being an irrational person. I don't recall the details of the novel incident, but I recall that Ayn Rand gave her answer, then the person persisted a bit, asking "Yes, but don't even irrational people have a right to life?" Ayn Rand threw her shawl or something over her shoulder in a huff and said -- I can hear her accent now -- "If you still don't understand, after I have explained it to you, then I feel dirty even talking to you."

You don't remember the details, you just know that a preson who persists in asking a stupid question is a thoughtful, honest human being.

I hate to say it, but I get that same feeling reading many of these postings. A flashback. This was my 1st interaction with other self-described objectivists in many decades, and it has not been pleasant. I would like to explore issues I am concerned about, but not at this price. Nominally, these forums are about philosophy. Philosophy means love of wisdom. Get a clue.

Some people like to be cuddled, others prefer honesty. The latter category loves wisdom, the former loves self-deception.

If philosophy means the love of wisdom, then Ayn Rand was right in hating the stupid questions, and letting people know of it. Your story makes me like her more, not less. (I think a dry "No." would've also been an appropriate answer to that particular stupid question, but it might not have ended the conversation, especially since you mentioned that this person was persistent in her stupidity)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1.

We use the word "own" in different contexts, and I think are misled by the fact that the same word is used in each context to think that ownership is the same thing in each context.

2.

I would like to explore issues I am concerned about, but not at this price. Nominally, these forums are about philosophy. Philosophy means love of wisdom. Get a clue.

Dr Dave,

Would you mind telling me what are you implying (in the context of the debate) - and for whom?

Thx!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

As far as I've looked into it, Geolibertarianism is compatible with the laissez-faire capitalist stance of Objectivism. Is this something worth looking into or does it seem unreasonable? It basically contends that we all have a right to the fruit of our labor, but "land, air, water and raw natural resources are not the fruits of labor," and the state has the right to tax you for your rent on the land.

Edited by CoolBlueReason
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Making the claim that land cannot be owned by anyone elevates "production" as the source of all property rights, when in fact the source of property rights in general is the role they serve in furthering our lives. If we want a society which provides the maximum scope for human beings to achieve their own well-being, there is no sense in making the claim that it is impossible to own land or natural resources. Holding that position would impoverish everyone, for the sake of what? Respecting the independence of inanimate objects? Production does play a vital role in determining who owns man-made objects, but elevating it as the sole source of all property rights lead to anti-life conclusions such as this one, that anything not produced cannot be owned. This divorces the morality of property rights from the reason we need property rights in the first place, which is to further our lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not justifying it, I just want to point out that the concept of "ephemerization" could explain the logic behind Geolibertarianism. After all it seems now a lot smoother to practice laissez faire Capitalism online than on traditional land-based industries. As an example, America is/used to be a rather free market, the leader of the FREE World after all, except when it comes to farming.

Again not justifying the theory, Geolibertarianism MIGHT provide some tools to deal with the existing recalcitrant countries which consider soil the epitome of sovereignty. Ex. They can have full ownership of the land, but no say of what you produce while standing or traveling through it. Israel is a real life example of a rather free country where nominal land ownership is restricted to a negligible level and one owns via extended lease. I believe Britain has something like that where the Crown officially owns all land?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the thought experiment that made me really consider this: Imagine a man (or woman) is building a railroad. Another man runs a mile ahead of the railroad and claims all the land in sight to be his. When the railroad executive tries to build the railroad, must s/he build around the claimed property? The reasonable answer is no, because land cannot be arbitrarily claimed just because you're the first there. If you answer yes, then I claim for myself all of Mars, and anyone who tries to build there is infringing on my property rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the thought experiment that made me really consider this: Imagine a man (or woman) is building a railroad. Another man runs a mile ahead of the railroad and claims all the land in sight to be his. When the railroad executive tries to build the railroad, must s/he build around the claimed property? The reasonable answer is no, because land cannot be arbitrarily claimed just because you're the first there. If you answer yes, then I claim for myself all of Mars, and anyone who tries to build there is infringing on my property rights.

Interesting and slightly provocative. But in what context should I imagine your scenario? America in the 19c? Give me a concrete example of the railroad. Ayn Rand gave us the Great Northern vs the Sherman Act roads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another man runs a mile ahead of the railroad and claims all the land in sight to be his. ... then I claim for myself all of Mars, and anyone who tries to build there is infringing on my property rights.

A.)That's not how homesteading works.

B.) You can't even live on Mars, as of yet. Property rights only apply to where humans can actually exist.

Now I've got a thought experiment: The land area you are currently using for standing or sitting room is the property of "all of society." You can't move or take any independent action whatsoever. (You didn't consult all Equatorial Guinea if you could move your left leg, or sit there, or sleep there.) Now trying living as a human being. You will find that you cannot do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the thought experiment that made me really consider this: Imagine a man (or woman) is building a railroad. Another man runs a mile ahead of the railroad and claims all the land in sight to be his. When the railroad executive tries to build the railroad, must s/he build around the claimed property? The reasonable answer is no, because land cannot be arbitrarily claimed just because you're the first there. If you answer yes, then I claim for myself all of Mars, and anyone who tries to build there is infringing on my property rights.

Stupid railroad person. Don't start building the line until after the right of way has been secured.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the thought experiment that made me really consider this: Imagine a man (or woman) is building a railroad. Another man runs a mile ahead of the railroad and claims all the land in sight to be his. When the railroad executive tries to build the railroad, must s/he build around the claimed property? The reasonable answer is no, because land cannot be arbitrarily claimed just because you're the first there. If you answer yes, then I claim for myself all of Mars, and anyone who tries to build there is infringing on my property rights.

The fact that proclaiming, "I hereby claim all this unclaimed land!" is not a valid method of coming to own land doesn't mean that no valid method exists. That is a false dilemma.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...