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Inequality is the enemy of growth. Discuss

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Jon Southall
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"One thing is for certain: if the land was unowned, no one would've built anything on it" This statement is false.

You do not need a land title to use land productively or to build things on it - you just need your brain, body & materials.

"The cause of the variance in land prices in an area is the variance in the past actions of the land owners in that area"

Another false claim. The variance in the price of land is caused by three key factors:

1) Monopoly of land backed by government force

2) The nature of permission granted on the use of the land by the government

3) Changes in the creation of wealth by producers in each locality

I do not agree with Marx's philosophy or his call to action. If you think otherwise you are very ignorant.

I believe that a landowner who does not provide capital or services but who demands payment is a hindrance to producers. He gets rich off of their production, without producing or trading anything. If you subscribe to that, so be it. I will judge you accordingly.

Edited by Jon Southall
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Jon Said:

"All property is theft" More passive aggressiveness.

I've always wondered the psychological state of individuals who need to resort to sarcasm and jibes to make themselves feel good. Tells me all I need to know about your nature.

I suspect no reasoning will be forthcoming, maybe a cheap throwaway comment or a crowd pleasing rant - who knows. What's the best within you capable of?

 

 

 

Much better than a bag full of logical fallacies and pop psychologisms to be pulled out every time I want to evade an inconvenient use of rhetoric, or confrontation with quoted counterfactuals.... Again you attempt baseless psycho-analysis instead of responding to the actual content of my post. Its called the fallacy of ad-hominem Jon, and its against the forum rules.

 

Lets recap for those amongst us who have shown a penchant for context dropping:

 

In my first post I commented that Jon may be motivated by a Marxist tenet that his post have repeatedly been consistent with. Jon then declared this was "hilarious" and made the baseless assumption that I had to be referring to the "mantra" "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". I pointed this baseless assumption out and then quoted Marx himself in #16. Jon then responded to this use of direct quote to support the argument that Jon's position on land is a Marxist one, in #20, with:

 

Marx is correct in that short paragraph, about the landlord being the beneficiary of owning the land, to the cost of the producer.
 

 

 

So, in response to my direct substantiation, Jon responds with "indirect expressions of hostility" like his comment about "intellectual dishonesty", and claims of pschologisitic "passive aggression", instead of an argument.

 

Was it intellectually dishonest for me to respond to my conscience bugging me (because I could not recall the exact place where Marx said "all property is theft", because I heard that in a lecture) by looking it up and finding that It was actually a French intellectual who said that in particular? Was it dishonest for me to return to my post and clarify this publicly? Was it an honest error for Jon to repeat his claim of "passive aggression" in response to this explicit reformulation of my previous argument?

 

Nicky said:

 

 

The "psychological state" of individuals who resort to sarcasm and jibes is contempt for their subject. When somebody's position is absurd and stupid enough, satire is the best way to show it.
 

 

Yes, there is even a term for a form of argument that does this and its called a "reductio ad absurdum". But apparently pop-psychology books like to turn forms of rhetoric that don't fit their multiculturalist-politically correct preconceptions, which are also consistent with other motives besides the ones in their tool kit, into memes that get repeated by those who have trouble making subtle differentiations....

 

But, so as to not be accused of passive sarcasm, Jon, that was for you!

 

 Direct enough?

 

Jon said, concerning the Marx quote he agreed with explicitly:

 

 

If you believe otherwise, then put forward your reasoning.

 

I, and others in the previous thread, have explained that you are context dropping and stealing the concept property and production by denying the facts which make property and production possible #17,#18,and #20 for example. Yet you respond with either pschologism, ad hominem, or refusals to respond as in the case with Harrison in post #21,  in the previous thread.

 

The most recent context dropping strawman was:

 

 

Were you the cause of your life coming into existence - no it was your parents. Who is the cause of your continued existence? Are you the cause or are you a parasite?

 

Do you mean that if am in a parasitic relationship with a willful host that I forfeit the right to my body as is the case with your land premise?

 

Lets make it really explicit what the argument you keep missing is. 

 

All production involves preexisting, metaphysically given materials.

 

Land can be property or capital via the causal mechanism of improvements to that land being performed by producers performing labor. Sometimes this involves trade based on the values of those who hold capital in the form of land made  previously via labor and improvements.

 

 

Or, to "again" refer to Miss. Rand's comments:

 

The government offered a 160-acre farm to any adult citizen who would settle on it and cultivate it for five years, after which it would become his property. Although that land was originally regarded, in law, as "public property," the method of its allocation, in/act, followed the proper principle (in /act, but not in explicit ideological intention). The citizens did not have to pay the government as if it were an owner; ownership began with them, and they earned it by the method which is the source and root of the concept of "property": by working on unused material resources, by turning a wilderness into a civilized settlement. Thus, the government, in this case, was acting not as the owner but as the custodian of ownerless resources who defines objectively impartial rules by which potential owners may acquire them

 

 

Do you think that this work disappears because the person the land gets sold to wasn't the initial creator of value? land is a "preexisting material" itself, not just "the source" of preexisting materials..

 

Oh and:

 

 

Nice dodge on the Nazi point.
 

 

Nice failure to understand the rejection of the arbitrary by Objectivist. I did not say anything that you could base this nonsense on personally. Quote me doing so if you think I did.

Edited by Plasmatic
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"One thing is for certain: if the land was unowned, no one would've built anything on it" This statement is false.

You do not need a land title to use land productively or to build things on it - you just need your brain, body & materials.

 

And after you've built a building on the land, what if someone else wishes to use that same land for a farm?  Are they entitled to knock down your building?  If yes, then I hope you can see that the unraveling of all property rights proceeds in quick order.  If no, then you've used the land for your own purposes, and have excluded the land from being used by others for their own various purposes.  What is this if not a property right? 

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I don't think Jon gets Objectivism.  He quotes from Rand but the core meaning eludes him.

 

 

Jon, you focus too much on ends, effects, results which are divorced from the individual and his life.

 

You speak of growth, in your title.  Growth of WHAT?  A community?  A society?

 

You speak about a great deal of economic outcomes.  What of them?

 

 

Rights are based on ethics/morality which is based on ... on what in your mind?

Who is its beneficiary?  What is the standard?

 

 

The "economy" and "growth" be damned if it requires self-sacrifice.  but you see it actually doesn't.  Do you agree Jon?

 

 

 

For a primer on what rights are see this article by Craig Biddle of the Objective Standard:

 

https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2011-fall/ayn-rand-theory-rights/

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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I do also think that land ownership is a cause of income inequality. People find it hard to separate the concepts of improvements by individuals and the land which preexisted them. Can someone trade their improvements or enjoy them, tax free? I say yes. Can they demand a whole load of unearned income on the unimproved land? No! But they do and most of the Objectivists here can't identify the self-contradiction.

They say - there is a farm there! The money the landowner gets is for the farm! The land is not unimproved anymore! What they don't realise is the rent on the land is the value of the land if it were unimproved. Anything above that is a payment of interest (for the farm) or wages (to the landlord for his time in managing the contract with the farmers who are using his farm etc). They think this unearned income for the unimproved land is an entitlement under private property, not realising they are crapping over a concept they hold dear to their hearts.

 Jon,

This may be the way it is in Great Brittan, but it's not the way it is in the US.  Many left GB for just such reasons.... because they wanted to own their own land.

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Dante,

 

"And after you've built a building on the land, what if someone else wishes to use that same land for a farm?  Are they entitled to knock down your building?"

 

No. Not unless they have bought it from you first. Then they can do whatever they want with it.

 

"If no, then you've used the land for your own purposes, and have excluded the land from being used by others for their own various purposes.  What is this if not a property right?" 

 

Could you clarify what you mean when you say "used the land for your own purposes". I've previously written that if you have improved the land, then you own the improvement. What we mean when we talk about property applies. If you have farmed the land, the farm is your property. You were the cause of it. Land preexists you and you were not the cause of it. You cannot own it in keeping with the law of causality. 

 

Rand's criteria was that the law of causality is at the root of ownership. 

 

"The source of property rights is the law of causality. All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man’s mind and labor."

 

I agree with Rand. Who else does?

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New Buddha.

 

If that were true, there would be no economic rents collected by landowners in the USA. The fact that there are shows that you have a problem too.

Maybe I'm dense, but I don't see your point.  If someone owns both the building and the land it's on, and charges rent, then it's a "problem" ?

 

Edit.  Don't bother replying.  I've read some of your other posts and you have no idea of what ownership is.

Edited by New Buddha
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I believe that a landowner who does not provide capital or services but who demands payment is a hindrance to producers. He gets rich off of their production, without producing or trading anything. If you subscribe to that, so be it. I will judge you accordingly.

Rights cannot be defended by attacking them. 

 

The landowner is providing the capital (the land), in a case where someone may desire to farm it, or if there is a house on it, a dwelling to someone who may desire a place to stay, or if a commercial building is there, to someone to set up a commercial enterprise, where any of these potential renters may not have the wherewithal or desire to purchase something outright.

 

Trying to defend the right to pursuit ownership of property is not done by attacking the right to trade its use to others who may be seeking to do the same. Ownership is earned while stewardship determines long-term ownership.

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New Budda,

 

That's your assertion.

 

Dream_Weaver,

 

Land isn't capital. The landowner doesn't provide it like a producer provides goods and services. He was not the cause of it. It preexisted him.

 

"...in a case where someone may desire to farm it, or if there is a house on it, a dwelling to someone who may desire a place to stay, or if a commercial building is there, to someone to set up a commercial enterprise, where any of these potential renters may not have the wherewithal or desire to purchase something outright."

 

Honest to God. How many times must I repeat this and still not get through.

 

Three concepts - which are mutually exclusive.

 

1. Land

 

2. Labour

 

3. Capital

 

Now in your example, you talk about either a home or a commercial building. Which of the above categories do these fall into?

 

It is 3. Capital. A home or a commercial building is capital. It was produced by man, it is private property. It is his. I am not attacking someone's right to own capital, to keep it, use it, sell it or rent it. People proclaim I am, but if you look at what I write, it is plain to see I have throughout supported people's rights to what they are the cause of.

 

A commercial building is not 2. labour (human exertion). Nor is a home. Like with all capital, a commercial building or a home is the result of human exertion, it depends on it.

 

A commercial building is not 1. Land. Nor is a home. Land preexists us, we use it (human exertion) as a factor of production in the creation of wealth - including some capital wealth but not all wealth is capital. 

 

Now three more concepts for you:

 

1. The return to land is rent

 

2. The return to labour is wages

 

3. The return to capital is interest

 

When someone pays to live in your home or commercial premises, they will pay a rent. This rent is comprised potentially of rent for the land (economic rent), wages (for services provided by the owner of the home or commercial premises), and interest (for using his capital - the home itself or the commercial premises). 

 

LET ME BE CLEAR

 

The wages the building owner receives is his - it is a trade, it is just and moral. He gets it for services HE provided. I have no problem with that at all. Do I need to repeat this 100 times before people get it?

 

The interest the building owner receives is his - it is a trade, it is just and moral. He gets it for capital HE provided. I have no problem with that at all. Again perhaps I need to repeat this a 1,000 times for those dimwitted people who claim I am an enemy of private property.

 

So now I have confirmed I am in favour of private property of all that man has created and is the cause of. Shall I repeat? Is this simple enough? Everything you or I produce - or trade with each other voluntarily - it's private property. 

 

NOW THE POINT OF CONFLICT

 

The rent on the land is not a payment for anything the landowner has created. It is not a payment for a farm, a home or a commercial premise. It is not a payment for the landowner's labours. It is a charge to access the location, it is a charge for the unimproved value of the land. 

 

1. What is the land value in respect of? It is not the value of his capital - the commercial premise or the house - as we would be discussing the value of INTEREST in that case. It is not the value of any services the landowner provides as we would then be discussing WAGES. What is RENT in respect of? I know the answer but I am appealing to your alleged adherence to Objectivism to put that grey matter to use.

 

2. What right does the landowner have to collect it? Try to remember the proper origins of property - the law of causality. The tenant who uses the commercial premises who creates wealth, has to give up a part of this wealth to the landowner. I am not talking about wealth traded FOR HIS SERVICES or FOR HIS CAPITAL. Can you figure out what it is traded for?

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The fact that land already exists is a non-issue, i.e., should not be an obstacle to determining the correct principles to apply in constituting ownership. When you cite "The source of property rights is the law of causality." applying ownership as an extension of man delimited as a causal agent fall under patent and copyright (intellectual property) considerations.

 

The three mutually exclusive categories also present a conundrum.

Barring less usual cases, such as a floating production facility, capital in the form of a house or commercial building do not exist independently of the land upon which they set,

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@Jon,

The utter illogic behind your argument is your complete inability to grasp that ALL OWNERSHIP IS BASED ON PRINCIPLES THAT MEN FREELY CHOSE TO RECOGNIZE.

 

If each man lived by himself, then the entire concept of ownership would be irrelevant.  But because we choose to live among men, we create rules which govern our behavior.

 

We can deem ownership to cover damn near anything - whether it be land, mineral rights, air rights, floor-area-ratios, rents, leases, easements, maintenance agreements, right-of-ways, shared accesses agreements, shared parking agreements, options-to-purchase, patents, copyrights, trade marks, stock in companies, etc.

 

Your attempt to somehow differentiate between "land" and "not-land" is where you fail.  You somehow have reached the conclusion that value is intrinsic (i.e. not epistemic) and therefore cannot be applied to land. 

 

Edit:  Let's just suppose for giggles, that you are right.  How would this change anything?

Edited by New Buddha
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2. What right does the landowner have to collect it? Try to remember the proper origins of property - the law of causality. The tenant who uses the commercial premises who creates wealth, has to give up a part of this wealth to the landowner. I am not talking about wealth traded FOR HIS SERVICES or FOR HIS CAPITAL. Can you figure out what it is traded for?

I know this one! Use of the land that the owner improves and/or maintains and/or uses. Simple.

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dream_weaver,

 

Could you explain why you believe the preexistence of land is a non-issue. How do we come to initially own something we had nothing to do with? You seem to think it is possible so perhaps you could clearly state your reasoning. I am not talking about trade or inherited wealth.

 

"The three mutually exclusive categories also present a conundrum.

Barring less usual cases, such as a floating production facility, capital in the form of a house or commercial building do not exist independently of the land upon which they set"

 

There is no conundrum - the land is in use. So what? Have I said anywhere that land can't be used or its use must be controlled? No. Your commercial building has foundations set in the ground - no-one has any right to interfere with your capital - they could not interfere with the foundations or the structure. I just don't see the point you are trying to make.

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New Buddha - that's your assertion.

 

"Your attempt to somehow differentiate between "land" and "not-land" is where you fail.  You somehow have reached the conclusion that value is intrinsic (i.e. not epistemic) and therefore cannot be applied to land."

 

A prime example of a complete failure to grasp the point. I do not argue or conclude that value is intrinsic, or differentiate between land and not-land. We are questioning whether a landowner has a moral right, with the protection of government force, to take unearned income from producers for the unimproved value of the land. 

 

Please don't associate me with your own muddled ideas. Don't try to add little variations of your own to what I have stated above. Just tell me what you object to. Do you object to my conclusion that producers should receive the full fruits of their labour? Do you object to my conclusion that people should trade voluntarily with each other? Do you object to my conclusion that a title supposedly giving someone a right to the unearned is not a title based on objective principles?

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Peter Morris,

 

"Even if it is, it's irrelevant. The point of human life is not the growth of the economy"

 

Yes I agree with you. The point of human life isn't the growth of the economy. However when people claim some of your production as their own (the tax man, the landowner), this diminishes the wealth you create that you can keep for your own ends and that is an attack on your life. When that attack impoverishes you and enriches others, that cause of inequality should be relevant.

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Jon said:

Please don't associate me with your own muddled ideas. Don't try to add little variations of your own to what I have stated above. Just tell me what you object to. Do you object to my conclusion that producers should receive the full fruits of their labour? Do you object to my conclusion that people should trade voluntarily with each other? Do you object to my conclusion that a title supposedly giving someone a right to the unearned is not a title based on objective principles?

How is it that you refuse to aknowledge the opposing argument in total question begging reassertion? It is your very categorization of land as mutualy exclusive of property and capital that is at issue. It's simple, your definition of land as only "the source" of preexisting material is false and many have demonstrated how this categorization leads to nonsense. Now you can either continue to be irrelevant or you can get to discussing the fundamental dissagreement. Reasserting your arbitrary definition is just question begging. Owning land is consistent with all of the principles you keep affirming.

Edit:

Jon said:

We are questioning whether a landowner has a moral right, with the protection of government force, to take unearned income from producers for the unimproved value of the land.

No, "we" are not questioning that. You are asserting that as the issue when others keep telling you that they are challenging your categorization of land ownership as an instance of taking "unearned income". Edited by Plasmatic
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Definition of terms as I am using them:

 

http://www.henrygeorge.org/pchp2.htm

 

To understand a bit more about where George stands on things:

 

http://povertythinkagain.com/controversies/a-word-from-the-sponsor-of-the-film-the-end-of-poverty-georgism-capitalism-and-socialism/

 

I am not a Georgist. However I am interested in his argument that landownership is a source of injustice, how taxing it is remedial by collecting only unearned income, and this could be used positively to fund the government. Some Georgists have even claimed that Galt's Gulch follows Georgist principles - Midas Mulligan rents the land out to those that live in the valley, and uses this rent to fund the defensive refractive rays and other communal facilities. A government funded by a tax on land rents, which represent the unimproved value of the land, is not funded by a tax on wealth creation or trade. This is an interesting model.

Edited by Jon Southall
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dream_weaver,

 

Could you explain why you believe the preexistence of land is a non-issue. How do we come to initially own something we had nothing to do with? You seem to think it is possible so perhaps you could clearly state your reasoning. I am not talking about trade or inherited wealth.

I doubt I can state it better than some of the other attempts you've not accepted. You could start by investigating the history of property rights, or look at cases where the concept of property rights was brought to a continent where property rights had not yet been conceived between the early settlers and native Indian population of the Americas.

 

You've repeatedly pointed out the first two sentences of about 8 paragraphs where the considerations following "The source of property rights is the law of causality. All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man's mind and labor." lead to a proper government's responsibility to protect them.

 

Eliminating trade or inheritance as a means to title brought an earlier passage in Atlas Shrugged to mind where Scudder said "When the masses are destitute and yet there are goods available, it's idiotic to expect people to be stopped by some scrap of paper called a property deed. Property rights are a superstition. One holds property only by the courtesy of those who do not seize it. The people can seize it at any moment. If they can, why shouldn't they?"

Edited by dream_weaver
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Oh for God's sake.

 

I wasn't eliminating trade or inheritance as a means to title. The purpose of excluding them was to simplify the discussion. In order to trade there has to be first something to trade, in order to inherit, there has to be first something to inherit. I wanted to focus on how we come to own things - not what happens afterwards. Likening what I was saying to Scudder just reveals your completely mistaken judgment of me and the argument being put forward.

 

No - I am asking the general question - ignore land if you want. What is the origin of ownership if not the law of causality. No one has answered this question. It has been avoided by you all.

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@Jon,

From your link:

 

"....Increase in the amount of bonds, mortgages, or notes cannot increase the wealth of the community, since that community includes those who pay as well as those who receive. Slavery does not increase the wealth of a people, for what the masters gain the enslaved lose. Rising land values do not increase the common wealth, as whatever landowners gain by higher prices, tenants or purchasers lose in paying them.

 

All this relative wealth is undistinguished from actual wealth in legislation and law, as well as common thought and speech. Yet with the destruction of nothing more than a few drops of ink and a piece of paper, all this "wealth" could be utterly annihilated. By an act of law, debts may be canceled, slaves emancipated, land made common property. Yet the aggregate wealth would not be diminished at all — for what some would lose others would gain. Wealth was not created when Queen Elizabeth graced her favorite courtiers with profitable monopolies, nor when Boris Godunov declared Russian peasants to be property.

 

The term wealth, when used in political economy, does not include all things having an exchange value. It includes only those things that increase the aggregate wealth when produced or decrease it when destroyed. If we consider what these things are and what their nature is, we will have no difficulty defining wealth.

We speak of a community increasing its wealth. For instance, we say that England increased its wealth under Queen Victoria, or that California is wealthier than when it belonged to Mexico. By saying this, we do not mean there is more land or natural resources. We do not mean some people owe more debts to others. Nor do we mean there are more people. To express that idea, we speak of an increase in population — not wealth.

 

What we really mean is there was an increase of certain tangible goods — things that have an actual, not merely a relative, value. We mean buildings, cattle, tools, machinery, agricultural and mineral products, manufactured goods, ships, wagons, furniture, and the like. More of such things is an increase in wealth; less of them is a decrease in wealth. We would say the community with the most of such things, in proportion to its population, is the wealthiest."

 

 

Jon,

Why have you even made your way to this forum?  It's obvious, that if you adhere to this line of reasoning, that you understand nothing of Objectivist Epistemology and have fallen prey to the worst form of Logical Positivism.

 

Until you take the time to understand Objectivism, you're pretty much wasting your time.

 

Edit:  As I stated above, you lack an epistemic understanding of the issue.  And I repeat my question:  How would your position manifest itself?

Edited by New Buddha
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