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A question about property rights

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One Shot Wonder
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1) People value their children and their relationships and the organizations they belong to

Because these entities have exclusive claim to themselves, and individuals derive benefit from mutually voluntary interaction.

2) worth is a measure of percieved value

Mass brainwashing.

there are forms of value beyond economic value

There is no such thing; value is always the trading price (though not always traded in currency). (Objectivist definition of moral value is not the same.) And in an Anthem society, there is no word I.

A value (a thing which has value) is that which one acts to gain and keep, and depends entirely on a person's acting. Nonexclusive claim = no claim, by the definitions of it I've provided in my preceding posts, means an individual cannot act to gain and keep.

4) I did not define claims in terms of ownership. I defined claims and then equated ownership with a specific type.

so that we don't drift further off topic. Recall that the point of the thread is to show me that ownership is something other than a human invention.

Have you noticed?! It's not me taking things off topic. I've spent quite a number of posts showing what ownership is.

Telling me about all the wonderful things that would be true if ownership existed is a start, but it's really not going to get you anywhere.

No kidding, that's why I'm not doing it.

Show me that a universe in which ownership didn't exist as anything other than a social fiction would necessarily be unlike ours in some obvious way.

What do you mean exactly by social fiction?

In a universe where the concept ownership was arbitrarily applied by some government, it can always be retracted. I equated ownership with exclusive claim, and exclusive claim (exclusive ability to arbitrary use and disposal) that is retractable, ie negatable, is not exclusive claim. Since exclusive claim doesn't exist, nothing is of value, and mind/reason is negated. Men are metaphysically and act physically no different from animals of the lowest orders. A universe without ownership would be a commune: and history has proved that such a thing cannot exist, especially in its purest form, so long as men have mind and reason.

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1) People value their children and their relationships and the organizations they belong to because these entities have exclusive claim to themselves, and individuals derive benefit from mutually voluntary interaction.

2) worth is a measure of percieved value

Mass brainwashing.

3) there are forms of value beyond economic value

There is no such thing; value is always the trading price (though not always traded in currency).  A value (a thing which has value) is that which one acts to gain and keep, and depends entirely on a person's acting.  Nonexclusive claim = no claim, by the definitions of it I've provided in my preceding posts, means an individual cannot act to gain and keep.

4) I did not define claims in terms of ownership.  I defined claims and then equated ownership with a specific type.

5) Show me that a universe in which ownership didn't exist as anything other than a social fiction would necessarily be unlike ours in some obvious way.

What do you mean exactly by social fiction?

1) You said that, "value exists because people value; people only value because they have exclusive claim (ie, exclusive ability to arbitrary use and disposal). Value is wholly dependent on the existence of exclusive claim." In answering my question (I noticed that you avoided the deity thing), you admitted that people can value an organization because of a derived benefit rather than from exclusive claim. Unless you want to clarify or restate, I'll count that as a retraction of your previous statement and we can move on.

2) You said, "Let us define the worth of an item as the marginal value of that item, or the amount of money you would pay to have one more unit of it." I find it fairly obvious that the amount of money I would pay for something is wholly contingent on my appraisal -- my perception. In fact, if worth were not a measure of percieved falue, then we would have to concede some very silly things. For instance: consider advertising. Ad campaigns are designed to increase the visibility of a product, and thereby increase demand. omdn't advertise, they'd have to drop their prices to create that same demand. An/i]duct's worth is exactly what someone is willing to pay for it, we can conclude that a McDonald's sandwich would be worth substantially less than it is today if that guy with the 'fro weren't "lovin' it".

Consider shoddy workmanship. Say you bought an expensive DVD player that broke the day after the one-year warranty expired. Would you feel a little ripped off? Heresy! Socialist brainwashing! The crappy DVD player was quite obviously worth every penny, because that's how much you paid for it.

3) There are no non-economic forms of value? Interesting. If someone acts to gain and keep a thing, then it has value. If something has value, that value can be measured by the trading price. Tell me: are you married?

4) I think I missed this. Where did you define claims?

concept is one which refers to something in the world. By contrast, a social fiction is an invented concept which is invalid but believed to be valid. The Greek people believed in the Olympians, for instance, and made sacrifices to them and built temples for them. It was all just a stupid farce, of course, but (nearly) everyone bought into it, and this mythology became part of the Grecian value system, influencing their lifestyle, their literature, and their thought processes. It even had some positive effects, despite the fact that it was complete hogwash.

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Wonder, you sound like you have been the victim of quite an amount of communist brainwashing. You should read Ayn Rand's Anthem for an example of what a society without the concept of ownership would really be like.

I haven't been brainwashed, I'm asking a question. Moreover, I'm not suggesting that the concept of ownership be abandoned -- in fact, I think it's a good one that's serving us well. I'm suggesting that it might be an invention, and asking you to show otherwise.

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I'm suggesting that it might be an invention, and asking you to show otherwise.

OK, here we go:

Assume that I take your car away from you and use it without your permission, without any intention to return it to you. Do you condemn this act of mine as immoral? Do you call the police to help you get the car back? If yes, Q.E.D. If no, JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU LIVE!

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Now I will prove that contact with swine tissue will keep someone out of heaven:

Assume that I start walking around Afghanistan with a bucket of pig fat, and suddenly, without permission, I toss the thing on some woman who's covered head-to-toe in traditional Islamic garments. Will the Afghanis condemn this act of mine as immoral? Will they beat the ever-living crap out of me and probably kill me? If yes, Q.E.D.

Somehow I doubt that someone believing that a thing is true actually makes it true.

More than that, even if I did just believe that ownership was a social fiction, I'd still probably call the police (because I need a car and I won't be able to just gank someone else's without legal trouble).

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You didn't answer my question. Do you think it would be moral for me to take your car?  I want to know because if you don't have a moral objection against my taking it, then I intend to take it.

I suspect that taking my car would be immoral, and I'd rather you left it alone. I don't know that it is, though, which is why I'm posing my question.

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Well, you would be angry if I took it, wouldn't you? You would feel outraged at my action! There is that car, which you bought from money you earned as a reward for your exertions--and I just went there and took it. You would undoubtedly think that I am a disgusting man!

And that's why I respect the rights of people to keep what they have earned--because I find theft disgusting, and I definitely prefer enjoying things that I have honestly earned.

Also, I want to be allowed to keep what I have earned, without having to worry about it being suddenly taken from me. How could I fault other people for taking away my stuff if I myself take away other people's stuff all the time? If I acted like that, people would think that I am an absolute hypocrite, and there would be no chance they let me keep what I earned. "If he doesn't respect my rights, why should we respect his?"

Thus, I accept property rights as a principle, because I want my property rights to be respected. I accept the principle because I want the principle to apply when my property is concerned.

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That's really more than fair -- and it shows that the concept of property and the respect thereof are wonderful social conventions, and things go well when everyone buys into them. But I want is something a bit deeper than "well you wouldn't like it if someone took your stuff now would you?" That's something we teach two year olds, and thus something we usually take for granted. It's not really enough for me anymore.

What I want is to see someone show me that property and ownership are something other than invented ideas that keep the wheels greased.

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You said that, "value exists because people value; people only value because they have exclusive claim (ie, exclusive ability to arbitrary use and disposal). Value is wholly dependent on the existence of exclusive claim." In answering my question (I noticed that you avoided the deity thing), you admitted that people can value an organization because of a derived benefit rather than from exclusive claim. Unless you want to clarify or restate, I'll count that as a retraction of your previous statement and we can move on.

I will indeed clarify and restate: in people valuing an organization, there is exclusive claim, and people derive benefit from the existence of exclusive claim through trade.

You said, "Let us define the worth of an item as the marginal value of that item, or the amount of money you would pay to have one more unit of it." I find it fairly obvious that the amount of money I would pay for something is wholly contingent on my appraisal -- my perception. In fact, if worth were not a measure of percieved falue, then we would have to concede some very silly things. For instance: consider advertising. Ad campaigns are designed to increase the visibility of a product, and thereby increase demand. If a company didn't advertise, they'd have to drop their prices to create that same demand. And since a product's worth is exactly what someone is willing to pay for it, we can conclude that a McDonald's sandwich would be worth substantially less than it is today if that guy with the 'fro weren't "lovin' it". Consider shoddy workmanship. Say you bought an expensive DVD player that broke the day after the one-year warranty expired. Would you feel a little ripped off? Heresy! Socialist brainwashing! The crappy DVD player was quite obviously worth every penny, because that's how much you paid for it.

That's why I have not used "worth" in any of my logic - only, when you brought the term up, attempted to give it an actual economic form of a definition which I don't think you liked very much. So, we are going to forget the term "worth" and focus on objective value.

Ad campaigns are designed to increase the visibility of a product, and thereby increase demand. If a company didn't advertise, they'd have to drop their prices to create that same demand.

This is why I advised you to learn the fundamentals of economics, because that statement was patently untrue, though at this point there is no way you would know it. Precisely because of that, I mention what things there are for you to look up on the internet: supply and demand curves. "A shift in demand curve is different from a shift in quantity demanded."

Consider shoddy workmanship.

That's why there are contracts over which you can take action if one party breaks his word to, say, a guaranteed piece of equipment.

There are no non-economic forms of value? Interesting. If someone acts to gain and keep a thing, then it has value. If something has value, that value can be measured by the trading price. Tell me: are you married?

No, I am not married, and I understood the implicit question. Ask any economist (by this I mean any one I've read) this question, and he will tell you that yes, marriage has a trading price which can even be tested to prove its reality.

I think I missed this. Where did you define claims?

All over the place. For example, here. A claim is ability to arbitrary use and disposal.

A valid concept is one which refers to something in the world. By contrast, a social fiction is an invented concept which is invalid but believed to be valid.

Your definition of social fiction is ... the Objectivist definition of mysticism?

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I will indeed clarify and restate: in people valuing an organization, there is exclusive claim, and people derive benefit from the existence of exclusive claim through trade.

That's why I have not used "worth" in any of my logic - only, when you brought the term up, attempted to give it an actual economic form of a definition which I don't think you liked very much.  So, we are going to forget the term "worth" and focus on objective value.

That's why there are contracts over which you can take action if one party breaks his word to, say, a guaranteed piece of equipment.

No, I am not married, and I understood the implicit question.  Ask any economist (by this I mean any one I've read) this question, and he will tell you that yes, marriage has a trading price which can even be tested to prove its reality.

A claim is ability to arbitrary use and disposal.

Your definition of social fiction is ... the Objectivist definition of mysticism?

What exclusive claim have I got on an organization that I value? What exclusive claim have I got on a pantheon that I value?

Fine, worth, whatever. Answer the question. Tell me whether the fact that I will pay more for an advertised product than I will for an unadvertised product of similar quality means that the advertised product is of greater value than its otherwise equivalent counterpart.

Contracts? I told you that there was a one-year warranty, and that a year had passed. Answer the question. Will you feel ripped off?

Actually, I was going to tell you that I dated my wife longer than you dated yours, and tell you that we've been married longer. Then I was going to offer to trade. I mean, obviously my wife is of greater value than yours is, because I invested more time in pursuing her. Assuming both our wives were willing, would you jump at the deal?

A claim is ability to arbitrary use and disposal. Excellent. I will go back and read some of your older stuff with this in mind. Just for my personal edification: ownership is simply exclusive claim, correct?

It could be, I don't know. What's the Oist definition of mysticism?

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That's really more than fair -- and it shows that the concept of property and the respect thereof are wonderful social conventions

No; it shows that property is a moral principle, one which a rational individual would practice irrespective of the currently popular social fiction that other people practice. "I find theft disgusting" - on principle, not in practice. Apparently, the "also ..." mutual respect clause is what you thought he meant as the main point.

What I want is to see someone show me that property and ownership are something other than invented ideas that keep the wheels greased.

Okay, again, without reference to social fictions. You have mind/reason, and that feature of you distinguishes you from species with only conceptual consciousness and is also mankind's mode of survival and existence. Mind/reason only operate when a concept called private property is present; therefore mankind only exists as mankind when it observes the principle of private property. On the other hand, it is perfectly well entitled to exist without such a concept - but then it would exist ony with conceptual consciousness just like all the other animals, without mind/reason functioning at all. Private property is, then, a necessary condition of the existence of man qua man, ie, the only method of sustaining the mind. Since it actually sustains the mind, it is not a social fiction and is rather an actual thing.

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What exclusive claim have I got on an organization that I value?

You have got none. What exclusive claim have you got on a car which you haven't bought yet which you value? That is why I introduced the concept of trading here. However, by the fact that exclusive claim at all exists on an organization, it is possible to value it or derive benefit from it. You will notice that I repeated myself because you asked the same question twice, and you will further notice that I am starting to sound scarily like RC, only without his mod powers.

Tell me whether the fact that I will pay more for an advertised product than I will for an unadvertised product of similar quality means that the advertised product is of greater value than its otherwise equivalent counterpart.

I will answer by saying a) no and B) you again evaded the value of information.

Contracts? I told you that there was a one-year warranty, and that a year had passed. Answer the question. Will you feel ripped off?

Does a one-year warranty tell you that things are expected to start going wrong sometimes after one year because no product is perfect? Yes. It doesn't tell you that the product is supposed to remain perfect forever; it tells you that the manufacturer expects things to stay perfect for up to a year, and after that it can't guarantee anything becase the laws of nature decided to start being what they are.

Actually, I was going to tell you that I dated my wife longer than you dated yours, and tell you that we've been married longer. Then I was going to offer to trade. I mean, obviously my wife is of greater value than yours is, because I invested more time in pursuing her. Assuming both our wives were willing, would you jump at the deal?

Now, read up on what a "sunk cost" is (in short, something you've already paid that you cannot get back but which does not count in value). But, the marginal value of one more unit of your wife is huge to you but comparatively tiny to me; therefore, we will not be able to agree on a price at which to trade. But, to understand this concept fully, which you will not because I haven't explained it near enough as of yet, you will have to research marginal value on your own.

A claim is ability to arbitrary use and disposal. Excellent. I will go back and read some of your older stuff with this in mind. Just for my personal edification: ownership is simply exclusive claim, correct?

About my personal definitions? On both counts.

What's the Oist definition of mysticism?

That which is not reality.

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However, by the fact that exclusive claim at all exists on an organization

you again evaded the value of information.

Does a one-year warranty tell you that things are expected to start going wrong sometimes after one year because no product is perfect?  Yes.  It doesn't tell you that the product is supposed to remain perfect forever; it tells you that the manufacturer expects things to stay perfect for up to a year, and after that it can't guarantee anything becase the laws of nature decided to start being what they are.

A claim is ability to arbitrary use and disposal. Excellent. I will go back and read some of your older stuff with this in mind. Just for my personal edification: ownership is simply exclusive claim, correct?

About my personal definitions?  On both counts.

What's the Oist definition of mysticism?

That which is not reality.

Who has exclusive claim on an organization? And more importantly, why do you keep ducking the god(s) question?

This is the first time you've used this term. What do you mean by "the value of information"?

You're not telling me whether you'd feel ripped off if an expensive DVD player broke right after the warranty lapsed.

And you said before that non-exclusive claim is the same as no-claim, correct? That if a claim isn't exclusive, it might as well not be there at all? If that's the case, in what important way is exclusive claim not the exact same thing as ownership?

Well, no, then. A social fiction is a subset of "that which is not reality". The present king of England is not reality, but it isn't a social fiction; things like religion, however, are (from an atheistic perspective) social fictions, because people buy into them and change their priorities for them and value them and treat them like they're real.

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<< Mind/reason only operate when a concept called private property is present >>

Wrong. Dead, flat-out wrong. I've told you several times why it's wrong

I don't believe you have.

Who has exclusive claim on an organization?

Those who own it, however that is defined in law.

And more importantly, why do you keep ducking the god(s) question?

I didn't mean to; the answer is a mystic derives some benefit from his own imagination, from social interaction, and from fun activities.

This is the first time you've used this term. What do you mean by "the value of information"?

Equally sorry. It's just that I'm in debate with another person on the exact same topic that you mentioned and and I've used that term many times there (every time ignored, which explains the uncharming demeanor), but who is who sort of slipped my mind.

You're not telling me whether you'd feel ripped off if an expensive DVD player broke right after the warranty lapsed.

No, because I know what the warranty means and what I'm paying for. Obviously, if it broke too soon and customer service sucked, I would switch to another company. Things generally last well past their "lifetime", because companies try to be "nice" and keep you as a customer, but they don't "have to".

And you said before that non-exclusive claim is the same as no-claim, correct?

Yes. There is no effective difference, other than the words used in the dictionary (me) definition.

That if a claim isn't exclusive, it might as well not be there at all?

Bingo.

If that's the case, in what important way is exclusive claim not the exact same thing as ownership?

Relevancy? And, in no important way or in any way whatsoever.

Well, no, then. A social fiction is a subset of "that which is not reality".

You're right - I didn't care too much to give a careful definition for mysticism. In fact, right now I can't come up with a nice concise formal definition for mysticism, but maybe later.

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Assuming that the original question on the existence of ownership is still the topic of this thread, let me continue from my previous post on the existence of property....

Because ownership is the relationship between an owner and his property, One Shot Wonder's question on its existence ultimately reduces to a question on the existence of property. In order to prove the existence of property, it is necessary that we have an exact definition of property, so that we can retrace its formation as concept and thereby prove its validity as a concept.

The following is a definition of property:

In a socio-political economic context, property is anything that one has the exclusive right to keep, to use and to dispose of in any way, by any means, for any reason and for any length of time that does not violate the rights of others.

I formed this definition after observing the characteristics of that which we call "property". Property can be anything that exists--be it abstract or concrete. Therefore, its distinguishing (and thus essential) characteristic is not any of its inherent qualities or attributes, but its relationship to a particular entity: man. That is the reason for the inclusion of the clause, "...that one has the exclusive right to...", to the definition of property. That which is referred to in the said clause is its differentia; its genus is the category of existent. (I did not say that property is essentially a product of man's integrated mental and physical labor, since things such as land, natural resources and even animals can be property that is certainly not of that nature.)

Observe that the definition depends upon a key political concept: the concept of individual rights.(1) This concept is the basis on which the existence of property is founded.

Property cannot exist without individual rights.

Furthermore, property rights are individual rights. The right to one's life means the right to have one's own life as property; i.e., the right to keep (sustain) it, to use it and to dispose of it in any way, by any means, for any reason and for any length of time that does not violate the rights of others. The right to free speech means the right to have one's mind and its natural means of expression (one's body) as property; i.e., the right to keep it,....

Should you now demand proof for the existence of individual rights, I will refer you to Ayn Rand's writings. She wrote several essays and even several novels concerning the individual's rights.

1. Note that we have begun this discussion out of the full context--and if you're not familiar with Ayn Rand's theory of ethics, politics and concepts, you may find yourself questioning several points, principles and concepts that I use and others already take for granted (such as individual rights). If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you read, among others, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, The Virtue of Selfishness: a New Concept of Egoism, and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

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Ownership exists if property exists if property rights exist? That sounds very reasonable, given that rights are never about things that don't exist.

Unfortunately, since I was only asking about ownership to determine whether property existed to determine whether property rights were real, your (incredibly solid) response really only moves the question back to where it came from. B)

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And you said before that non-exclusive claim is the same as no-claim, correct?

Yes.  There is no effective difference, other than the words used in the dictionary (me) definition.

That if a claim isn't exclusive, it might as well not be there at all?

Bingo.

If that's the case, in what important way is exclusive claim not the exact same thing as ownership?

Relevancy?  And, in no important way or in any way whatsoever.

The relevance is that if ownership is claim and claim is ownership, then no, sir, you cannot use the concept of claim to validate the concept of ownership.

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<< Mind/reason only operate when a concept called private property is present >>

Wrong. Dead, flat-out wrong. I've told you several times why it's wrong

I don't believe you have.

It seems foolish to say that no property means no mind and reason.  I assume that you're referring to the logic in your previous post, "If others had a claim on anything a person produces equal or greater than is own claim, ie public property, the value of the thing is instantly negated; the end being nothing means the middle and the beginning are nothing."  It seems to me that the utility of a product I create wouldn't change if I didn't have a claim on it.

You asked what would happen if someone took the product of my mind and reason away, and suggested that such a thing would negate the value of my mind and reason.

<The value of something> to me has absolutely no bearing on what <that thing's value is>.

I used sloppy terms, though, and we got off onto this thing about worth. Plus I got called brainwashed a few times, which was neat.

Finally,

Metaphysics has nothing to do with functional differences; you're thinking of epistemology.

This means that even if our mind and reason could be shown to be producing only valueless things in a propertyless environment, that would not mean that our mind and our reason did not exist in a way that separated us from apes and trees and plankton.

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