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The first man to sell land, called it his

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In my experience, people who discuss economics rarely start at the beginning. They often dicuss issues like The Right to Property within the context of selling and buying, under the assumption that a market has always existed. I would like to examine how property becomes property.

Land: Can I stumble upon a piece of land and call it mine, then sell it to another person? Clearly the person I sold that land to will call his ownership of it legitmate, but it was legitimized through trade with me. I called the land mine without paying for it. I might claim that the land is mine because I found it, but what of the people who may have used that land before me and still exist there (native americans)? Will they agree that I found the land and therefore it belongs to me and is mine to sell...and once it is sold and a fence is built around it and they are forced from the property, will they say that the person I sold that land to has a legitimate claim on it.

The American Government is the force that made this type of trade possible. They also enforced the finality of these types of agreements.

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Land: Can I stumble upon a piece of land and call it mine, then sell it to another person?
What does it mean to "call something yours" anyway? Why would someone else be willing to pay you to "call something his"? You've "stepped back" in your example, but I think you need to step back one more step by answering the following counter-question: if you come upon a piece of virgin land, and set up a homestead there, building a house, cultivating some land around it, and so on, does someone else have the right to come along and take it over from you? Or, for that matter, does someone else have the right to come along and say: half of this should be mine? Edited by softwareNerd
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In my experience, people who discuss economics rarely start at the beginning. They often dicuss issues like The Right to Property within the context of selling and buying, under the assumption that a market has always existed. I would like to examine how property becomes property.

Who is "they" here, who has never discussed this, and always made assumptions that the market existed without inquiring into its basis? There are, by now, several generations of libertarian and free market scholarship on the foundations of property rights as based in the tradition of John Locke.
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Who is "they" here, who has never discussed this, and always made assumptions that the market existed without inquiring into its basis? There are, by now, several generations of libertarian and free market scholarship on the foundations of property rights as based in the tradition of John Locke.

"They" are those who do not recognize that a "discoverer" of land felt entitled to take the land without trading for it. He took the land and called it his because he "found" it. He may have stuck a flag in the ground, or secured boundaries around the area, but he did not make payment for it, nor did he pay any respect for any natives, who may have been inhabiting that land for centuries. He did however sell the land to some one of a similar ideology, who believed in the "discoverers" "ownership" of it...and that is how a real-estate market beings, unless you have another theory.

Also keep in mind, that in american history, native land was ceased by the government and sold to wealthy land buyers, so , this means that the real-estate market began with the government, so saying that the government has no place in the market is kind of ignorant.

Edited by TrueMaterialist
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What does it mean to "call something yours" anyway? Why would someone else be willing to pay you to "call something his"? You've "stepped back" in your example, but I think you need to step back one more step by answering the following counter-question: if you come upon a piece of virgin land, and set up a homestead there, building a house, cultivating some land around it, and so on, does someone else have the right to come along and take it over from you? Or, for that matter, does someone else have the right to come along and say: half of this should be mine?

So than you believe that Europeans and early European settlers unfairly stole land from Native Americans, under the protection of government, and either kept or sold the land to others for profit?

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So than you believe that Europeans and early European settlers unfairly stole land from Native Americans, under the protection of government, and either kept or sold the land to others for profit?
You're assuming my question was rhetorical, and you're assuming you know my answer. I was asking a question, to understand your answer. Edited by softwareNerd
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You're assuming my question was rhetorical, and you're assuming you know my answer. I was asking a question, to understand your answer.

Okay. what it means to call something yours is exactly the issue I am examining. If I stand on a piece of land and call it mine because I personally found it and maybe build a fence around it, does that make it mine, just because I say so? If I then sell that land to a man for a price we both agree upon, does that then make the land his? That is the issue I am essentially getting at. It is a question I am actually asking you to answer. The root of a real-estate market begins with one man, standing on a piece of land and calling it his because he is there and he "found it" and he protects it as his.

Is this conclusion incorrect?

Edited by TrueMaterialist
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Okay. what itmeans t o call something yours is exactly the issue I am examining. If I stand on a piece of land and call it mine because I personally found it and maybe build a fence around it, does that make it mine, just because I say so? If I then sell that land to a man for a price we both agree upon, does that then make the land his? That is the issue I am essentially getting at. It is a question I actually ansking you to answer. The root of a real-estate market begins with one man, standing on a piece of land and calling it his because he is there and he "found it" and he protects it as his.

Is this conclusion incorrect?

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Okay. what itmeans t o call something yours is exactly the issue I am examining. If I stand on a piece of land and call it mine because I personally found it and maybe build a fence around it, does that make it mine, just because I say so? If I then sell that land to a man for a price we both agree upon, does that then make the land his? That is the issue I am essentially getting at. It is a question I actually ansking you to answer. The root of a real-estate market begins with one man, standing on a piece of land and calling it his because he is there and he "found it" and he protects it as his.

Is this conclusion incorrect?

Edited by TrueMaterialist
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If I stand on a piece of land and call it mine because I personally found it and maybe build a fence around it, does that make it mine, just because I say so?

Looks like you've been studying Jean-Jacques:

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 anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." ~Jean Jacques Rousseau,
A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
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Okay. what itmeans t o call something yours is exactly the issue I am examining. If I stand on a piece of land and call it mine because I personally found it and maybe build a fence around it, does that make it mine, just because I say so? If I then sell that land to a man for a price we both agree upon, does that then make the land his? That is the issue I am essentially getting at. It is a question I actually ansking you to answer. The root of a real-estate market begins with one man, standing on a piece of land and calling it his because he is there and he "found it" and he protects it as his.

Is this conclusion incorrect?

Property rights are the rights to the use and disposal of something. To have the right to property is to have the right to use or dispose of something, which implies the right to exclude others from doing the same (else there's no sense to having such a right).

It is a requirement of man's nature, of his survival, that he make use of and dispose of things. If he cannot, if others have the right to bar him from the use and disposal of things, then he has no means of survival, no right to his own life. If he doesn't, no one does. It's dog eat dog.

By what means does a individual acquire the right to the use and disposal of certain things, the property rights of certain things?

If no one else owns something, he acquires the right to exclusive use by virtue of making use of that something. If someone else has already established a use for that something, then an individual can acquire the property rights of that something by trading with the owner and acquiring the property rights by voluntary exchange. If instead he resorts to force and steals the other's property, then he has rejected the principle of property rights and has no grounds upon which to demand recognition of what he then claims to be his property.

Edited by Trebor
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Also keep in mind, that in american history, native land was ceased by the government and sold to wealthy land buyers, so , this means that the real-estate market began with the government, so saying that the government has no place in the market is kind of ignorant.

It's hard to claim it was "seized" when the Native Americans didn't even recognize or understand the concept of private property. That came with the Europeans.

Additionally, whether or not the government was the initially seller of private property BACK THEN has nothing to do with the propriety of government's place in the market NOW. It is improper to compound one's errors simply because that was how it was historically done. You might as well suggest we just trash all the knowledge we gained from then until now.

Edited by RationalBiker
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It's hard to claim it was "seized" when the Native Americans didn't even recognize or understand the concept of private property. That came with the Europeans.

Additionally, whether or not the government was the initially seller of private property BACK THEN has nothing to do with the propriety of government's place in the market NOW. It is improper to compound one's errors simply because that was how it was historically done. You might as well suggest we just trash all the knowledge we gained from then until now.

I think you are missing the point. I am saying that a real-estate market did not always exist. It had to begin somewhere. It begun with a person claiming land as his own, simply because he stood on it, or claimed to "find it." He claimed this land as his own because he desired something that land offered, beauty, resources, etc. When that man decides to sell it to another man, the seller must convince the buyer that the land is his. When the buyer agrees to pay for that land at whatever cost, this is the beginning of that market. Do you know of another way a real-estate market begins.

Many natives DID see land as theirs. There may have been certain tribes who did not believe in land ownership, but these tribes also did not believe that other people could assume control over it. These tribes believed that the land should be shared and many could inhabit it. This is an important distinction because it does not justify the "others" right to seize it and deny those native tribes equal usage and access, nor did they consent to forcefull rellocation. The certain tribes who did not believe that one could control, govern or seize land for personal ownership were not giving settlers permission to seize, control, or govern it.

Other tribes were very territorial. They would kill you if you so much as walked through their territories without permission.

So your point is moot, first, because you misunderstand certain native perspectives and, 2nd, because you assume all natives tribes shared the same perspectives.

Further, I bring up the government role in "manifest destiny" and the forceful seizing of land from natives because I am driving the point that the government carved the ability for us to have property and use that property. The government would forcefully seize it, then it would sell, or give that land to settlers.

Big business uses government all the time. The government in itself is benign. It exists as a catalyst for those who seek to use it. If you are upset with the government, it may be because of corruption caused by wealthy lobbyists and those wealthy enough to bribe public officials. If you like I can provide many examples of big business abusing power through government to achieve specific desires.

So perhaps it is not government intervention in the market that is the problem, but rather big business intervention in government that is the problem. It is actually brilliant, though immoral, for a wealthy big business tycoon to influence government action through lobbying and "soft money," or bribes, to influence the market is said tycoons favor. Dishonnest business men often use middle use men as the fall guy, as a way to prtotect themsleves from being caught red-handed. If this sounds impossible to you, then you are not thinking realistically.

Edited by TrueMaterialist
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Big business uses government all the time. The government in itself is benign.

First the government itself is far from benign. The government is the one the generates and enforces laws that ultimately serve to protect individual rights or destroy individual rights. That is a power that is far from benign, in scope and/or in practice. The fact that they are lobbied by big business DOES NOT mean they have to cater to what big business seeks. Individual politicians CHOOSE of their own volition to allow "big business" to use pull; thus indicative of a corrupt politician. This is one of the very reasons why government should not be in the market, because of the potential of immoral people using government pull and corrupt politicians allowing it. That is very much present in the theme of Atlas Shrugged. When you remove government intervention in the market, there goes that big business pull. You are putting the cart before the horse. I don't deny that there is big business interference in government, I place the responsibility of allowing it to happen where it belongs; on the government.

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