Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

"The rich got rich by putting their time and money into productive

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 115
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

To produce is to cause something to be by your own effort and action. Obviously there are those who are rich who did not obtain their wealth by "their own effort". Inheritance is an example.

There's really only one way to assess this: you look at rich people, and you figure out if land got them there. You could try doing a rigorous study, but that's not the place to start. The place t

Maybe we should just begin with the question: What must one do to obtain land and make it one's own property?  Unless we know what you, Jon, thinks must be done with or to land before it qualifies as

Neanderthals . . . ?

 

I still fail to see what makes land ownership different from car ownership or spear ownership, which makes it a little bit difficult to see how the question affects much of anything.  It stands to reason, though, that there had to have been at least one person who didn't pay anybody anything for his land; simply walking up and building a house there.  It seems likely that we wouldn't even be talking about a real house, as we would think of one, but just something to take shelter under. . .  I'm not sure what that could mean for anything else in the world, either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

H, if I were to build a house, it would rightly belong to me in the first instance, until I decide to trade it.

Originally, as you correctly point out, the first settlers did not have to buy land from anyone - there was nobody to buy it from. They just made a home for themselves.

Now if we were to divide what exists into two categories, 1) what exists due to the purposeful involvement of man and 2) what occurs naturally, it is clear to me that 1) is property and 2) is not.

Car ownership and spear ownership fall into category 1. They are both man-made. They are somebodies property until disposed of.

Land falls into category 2. It occurs naturally and its existence was not dependent on man.

There is a further distinction implied by these categories.

Category 1 existents were always earned in the first instance. They can be redistributed either voluntarily or by force and through the nature of this redistribution can either remain as earned or can become unearned.

Category 2 existents such as land is always unearned in the first instance.

For land to be deemed property, someone who claims this has confused the two categories. You can see this in Snerds comments quite clearly. He thinks land has been traded but it could only be traded by someone it belongs to. As land is an existent which occurs naturally and has not been purposefully changed by man, by what mechanism did land enter into ownership?

In the case of category 1 existents, in the first instance they are earned. They can become unearned when taken by force, or perhaps through some kinds of inheritence.

In the case of category 2 existents, in the first instance they are unearned. They are also prerequisites of type 1 existents. To have any type 1 existents, such as drinking water, food to eat, materials to make tools and shelter with you need type 2s, and that's true for every man alive who looks to live independently.

Land ownership is simply a title that incorrectly identifies type2 existents as type1 existents in order to restrict what is freely available to all and which belongs to no-one, to certain chosen individuals. Land ownership titles are also completely unnecessary as a means of protecting property rights, as all legitimate type1 ownership titles would be sufficient for that purpose.

What a tenant is forced/duped into paying for land is basically the landowner's proceeds from (usually) inadvertant robbery/fraud, and allows those who own type2 existents e.g. land to a perpetual stream of goods and services whilst removing any need to trade something of their own in return.

If someone was charging people a fee so they could be given permission to live, would you pay them it? Only perhaps if you were forced to. You already have inalienable right to live without needing anyone else's permission. The fee paid to landowners is a fee paid for access to type2 existents, a fee they are not entitled to charge for because they have no greater claim to it, in nature, than you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

H, if I were to build a house, it would rightly belong to me in the first instance, until I decide to trade it.

Originally, as you correctly point out, the first settlers did not have to buy land from anyone - there was nobody to buy it from. They just made a home for themselves.

Now if we were to divide what exists into two categories, 1) what exists due to the purposeful involvement of man and 2) what occurs naturally, it is clear to me that 1) is property and 2) is not.

Car ownership and spear ownership fall into category 1. They are both man-made. They are somebodies property until disposed of.

Land falls into category 2. It occurs naturally and its existence was not dependent on man.

There is a further distinction implied by these categories.

Category 1 existents were always earned in the first instance. They can be redistributed either voluntarily or by force and through the nature of this redistribution can either remain as earned or can become unearned.

Category 2 existents such as land is always unearned in the first instance.

For land to be deemed property, someone who claims this has confused the two categories. You can see this in Snerds comments quite clearly. He thinks land has been traded but it could only be traded by someone it belongs to. As land is an existent which occurs naturally and has not been purposefully changed by man, by what mechanism did land enter into ownership?

In the case of category 1 existents, in the first instance they are earned. They can become unearned when taken by force, or perhaps through some kinds of inheritence.

In the case of category 2 existents, in the first instance they are unearned. They are also prerequisites of type 1 existents. To have any type 1 existents, such as drinking water, food to eat, materials to make tools and shelter with you need type 2s, and that's true for every man alive who looks to live independently.

Land ownership is simply a title that incorrectly identifies type2 existents as type1 existents in order to restrict what is freely available to all and which belongs to no-one, to certain chosen individuals. Land ownership titles are also completely unnecessary as a means of protecting property rights, as all legitimate type1 ownership titles would be sufficient for that purpose.

What a tenant is forced/duped into paying for land is basically the landowner's proceeds from (usually) inadvertant robbery/fraud, and allows those who own type2 existents e.g. land to a perpetual stream of goods and services whilst removing any need to trade something of their own in return.

If someone was charging people a fee so they could be given permission to live, would you pay them it? Only perhaps if you were forced to. You already have inalienable right to live without needing anyone else's permission. The fee paid to landowners is a fee paid for access to type2 existents, a fee they are not entitled to charge for because they have no greater claim to it, in nature, than you.

Hi Jon,

It's unclear to me what your point is regarding "land ownership" -- maybe you can help me to understand better?  Currently, I understand you as saying that land is not "earned" in the way that a house is, because the house is constructed and the land is not, yet that the house cannot exist without some portion of land... so... where does that leave us?

 

Isn't it also true of "materials," that they are not "earned" in your meaning?  The trees from which the house was made, or the gold that was discovered in the hills to barter -- can they be owned?

 

With respect to land and "titles," suppose I had it in mind to raise some sort of livestock.  In doing so, I recognize that I need a parcel of some size, so that my animals can graze properly, or do whatever it is that they need to do.  Would you recognize it as proper of me to fence off that section of land I would require (given that we are in a territory previously unclaimed) for the purpose of my ranch, and then to defend that piece of land against intrusion?  (Note that the "ranch," in the sense of space for my animals to roam, is not necessarily something tangible like a house.  It may just look like land in certain areas.)

 

If so, suppose someone came along and wanted to camp for a night on my ranch.  I initially say "no," but they offer me some amount of money for it, and I agree.  Is this also my right?  Could I sell my ranch to someone else, and if I did, could the right to defend the ranch grounds (or sublet them, or sell them again) accompany the sale?

 

If this is all conceded (which I recognize is a very big "if"), then what is the practical difference between this and "land ownership"?

Edited by DonAthos
Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you really trying to sell the whole land doesn't count as property argument again on this board?

 

No one is buying the classic egalitarian "we didn't start out equal/earned so we can never so we can't have freedom" argument, which is what that boils down to.  I get it all the time from my liberal friends over property rights, income, inheritance tax (ghoul tax), and even "social justice".

 

This amounts to "if realty catered to my whims and we started out as X then I agree we could have liberty", which means we cannot have liberty since reality caters no ones whims so we can't start some place being free. Thus we perpetuate Government intervention to insure "justice" is kept.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't own air either; right? That would be another type 2 existent, which nobody ever made.

So would it be OK for me to take it somewhere else (perhaps a different planet)?

Edit:

I know that's an absolutely absurd question; essentially asking whether it's OK to kill seven billion people by slow suffocation. The point is simply that ownership (or a lack thereof) cuts both ways.

You have no right to stop anyone from messing with things that you don't own, and by your own logic you don't own the air in your own lungs.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Link to post
Share on other sites

Correct, in my view you cannot own the air that naturally exists in the atmosphere.

 

In order for you to move the air to another planet, you would have to pressurize it into tanks. You would then have a man-made supply of oxygen; a type 1 existent. Unless you can point out how air in the atmosphere will otherwise move to some desired location in space without man's involvement?   

 

"You have no right to stop anyone from messing with things that you don't own." Messing suggests a negative impact on you resulting from their interaction; can you give some examples of what you mean here? You have just as much right to those things as them, so I would say when it comes to type2 existents we would just have to learn to share.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiral, you simply haven't understood if you think I am arguing for government intervention. 

 

I recognise that a great deal of wealth in the world is looted wealth. The problem Objectivists have in reaching out to a wider audience is that many adherents don't recognise it. They tend to defend rich people, companies, nations, principles and practices without doing a root cause analysis of how it came to be that way. This is entirely self-defeating, irrational.

 

The heroes in Rand's novels became or were rich, but this was not what their main motivations were. I feel many who say they are Objectivists have forgotten what those motives were. That is why many Objectivists defend the rich and identify them as heroes unquestionably, and in doing so antagonize those who may otherwise have given serious thought to the philosophy. Those Objectivists need to re-read the money speech and ask themselves of their rich heroes, what is the root of their money?

 

The land argument is so important. You may reject it but what would you think of a flat-worlder contending your arguments about the world not being flat were absurd and ridiculous? That just might be what I think of you. Plus I can see the advantage to us all of understanding the land argument, and I am keen to get the opposition to it out of the way so real progress can be achieved.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Messing suggests a negative impact on you resulting from their interaction; can you give some examples of what you mean here?

Certainly. Hunters shooting wildlife, astronauts exploring space, oil companies drilling uninhabited land; all of the people doing those things, and things like them, are free to do so with or without your consent.

As for the nature of air that's been captured and pressurized- you're right! So would it be moral and proper to remove Earth's atmosphere?

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Certainly. Hunters shooting wildlife, astronauts exploring space, oil companies drilling uninhabited land; all of the people doing those things, and things like them, are free to do so with or without your consent."

Why do you think people who do any of these things are "messing" with you, per your earlier post?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiral, you simply haven't understood if you think I am arguing for government intervention. 

 

I recognise that a great deal of wealth in the world is looted wealth. The problem Objectivists have in reaching out to a wider audience is that many adherents don't recognise it. They tend to defend rich people, companies, nations, principles and practices without doing a root cause analysis of how it came to be that way. This is entirely self-defeating, irrational.

 

The heroes in Rand's novels became or were rich, but this was not what their main motivations were. I feel many who say they are Objectivists have forgotten what those motives were. That is why many Objectivists defend the rich and identify them as heroes unquestionably, and in doing so antagonize those who may otherwise have given serious thought to the philosophy. Those Objectivists need to re-read the money speech and ask themselves of their rich heroes, what is the root of their money?

 

The land argument is so important. You may reject it but what would you think of a flat-worlder contending your arguments about the world not being flat were absurd and ridiculous? That just might be what I think of you. Plus I can see the advantage to us all of understanding the land argument, and I am keen to get the opposition to it out of the way so real progress can be achieved.

 

 

I understand the motives of the characters and agree.  I defend the rich because people do not say "the rich today in the context of cronyism" but simply "the rich" which is an egalitarian/Marxist false standard that needs to be shot down out of hand.  If you are going to say you are talking about the rich due to government interference, say the Orren Boyles of the world to use an easy reference, then we have an agreement.

 

The issue is no one draws that distinction thus I have to shoot down inequality as a standard, not a condition which is the only litigate argument. Inequality as the standard is false and needs to be tore down for the evil it is for the harm it causes.  The only thing worse than that kind of egalitarianism is the militant environmental movement.  

 

As for land - I now suspect you are referencing something specific example wise in a mixed economy/welfare state and not how things should be, which is my standard for the same reasons I listed above.  I'd be curious to know that that context is.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

The land argument is so important. You may reject it but what would you think of a flat-worlder contending your arguments about the world not being flat were absurd and ridiculous? That just might be what I think of you. Plus I can see the advantage to us all of understanding the land argument, and I am keen to get the opposition to it out of the way so real progress can be achieved.

 

I think the flat worlders, to paraphrase your analogy (but I wouldn't say that about you), would have discussed this on the other thread and simply don't understand why it's being revisited.  

 

But like I said above I suspect there is a context here in today's world we need to get to.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Certainly. Hunters shooting wildlife, astronauts exploring space, oil companies drilling uninhabited land; all of the people doing those things, and things like them, are free to do so with or without your consent."

Why do you think people who do any of these things are "messing" with you, per your earlier post?

I never said messing with you; I said messing with things that you don't own (such as random wildlife and celestial bodies millions of miles away).

The air in your lungs is not YOU. It's a type 2 existent (like wildlife and asteroids), which makes it fair game for anybody to use.

Please reread my original outline of that more closely.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Link to post
Share on other sites

Harrison, you need to reread the exchange. It was asked:

"Messing suggests a negative impact on you resulting from their interaction; can you give some examples of what you mean here?"

Examples of activities that have a negative impact on YOU, included:

Hunters shooting wildlife

Astronauts exploring space

Oil companies drilling uninhabited land

I'm trying to understand why those activities have a negative impact on you. Can you now explain what you meant?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Harrison,

I haven't clicked on the link, however it should be obvious.

If you did nothing, and assuming no-one would intervene, you would die. So is your liver dependent on your productive endeavors or not? It is dependent.

Keeping your internal organs working requires that you sustain yourself; they continue to function only as a result of your productive endeavors so-to-speak.

Even when you were developing in the womb you were dependent on your mother to sustain you both.

Let me put it simpler still. All men are man-made so-to-speak; we all exist as a result of a productive interaction between our mother and father. Unless you think you're Jesus. Even test tube babies are man-made.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiral,

I'm not an advocate of mixed economies. However there are some services I would consider paying the government to provide voluntarily (beyond police/justice/military functions) but I wouldn't look to impose this on others.

The land argument is about justice. It's about recognising that land ownership titles allow those who hold them, to legally loot some of the wealth made by productive men.

Henry George found this explained much of the poverty you found accompanying resource rich and highly productive cities such as London & New York.

Do we think wealth creators should be looted and made to live in poverty? Isn't it more disgusting that this looting is packaged up as a free market transaction?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiral,

I'm not an advocate of mixed economies. However there are some services I would consider paying the government to provide voluntarily (beyond police/justice/military functions) but I wouldn't look to impose this on others.

The land argument is about justice. It's about recognising that land ownership titles allow those who hold them, to legally loot some of the wealth made by productive men.

Henry George found this explained much of the poverty you found accompanying resource rich and highly productive cities such as London & New York.

Do we think wealth creators should be looted and made to live in poverty? Isn't it more disgusting that this looting is packaged up as a free market transaction?

 

I honestly do not understand the connection or the steps you would follow to even come to that conclusion.  

 

I own land.  I may use it or not.  If I charge someone to use it they may choose to do so or not.  I do not see how I'm looting someone at any step.  I'm not forcing them to do anything, if at all.  Feel free to fill in what I'm missing there.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

The case is set out in Progress & Poverty, Spiral so if you want to find out more take a look.

It took George a whole book to explain it, I can't achieve the same in a few posts.

George argues in favour of the free market, against production and transaction taxes, he was against Marxism, against Malthus and recognised the same inalienable rights that Objectivists do.

I could cite some of his works and you'd be quite surprised how consistent with Objectivism it is. I believe the two philosophies can be integrated, it would enrich the objectivist position on ownership and justice, and possibly solve the issue of how to fund the government without taxing producers and traders.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Craig, you haven't read George's argument so with all due respect, you are in no position to explain it's strengths and weaknesses to me or anyone else.

You were the one who thought you had the right to charge someone £1,000 for sitting down merely because they are sitting 10ft away from you.

Edited by Jon Southall
Link to post
Share on other sites

The case is set out in Progress & Poverty, Spiral so if you want to find out more take a look.

It took George a whole book to explain it, I can't achieve the same in a few posts.

George argues in favour of the free market, against production and transaction taxes, he was against Marxism, against Malthus and recognised the same inalienable rights that Objectivists do.

I could cite some of his works and you'd be quite surprised how consistent with Objectivism it is. I believe the two philosophies can be integrated, it would enrich the objectivist position on ownership and justice, and possibly solve the issue of how to fund the government without taxing producers and traders.

 

But honestly, and this is meant to be constructive, but why would I spend my time reading a whole book arguing against what I pointed out in one small paragraph in my last post. 

 

I can reduce it further:  If I own land anyone and everyone can easily use their free will to choose to have a voluntary exchange with me, or not.

 

If someone thinks Voluntary Choice = Exploitation then we have a whole different discussion.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...