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Water Supply Question

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Under a pure Capitalist system the water supply would all be privatized. Say they poured waste in it from another part of the companies industry and it harms the consumers and the company didn't tell them about it.

Would this be considered the initiation of force and thus banned?

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[Negative externalities is a legal-political issue, not a moral one. This thread will need to be moved. --Yessir! -GreedyCap]

Since Praxus is asking about the nature of the crime, I think we need to pick a specific situation and stick with it.

Supposing there are three parties:

* Exil Petroleum

* HydroCo

* John Smith, customer of HydroCo

Exil Petroleum has polluted water owned by HydroCo. John Smith got sickened by the polluted water.

Under capitalism, we can be certain that:

1) HydroCo can sue Exil for property rights violations.

2) John Smith can sue HydroCo for violating contractual terms about water quality.

But there are debatable issues:

3) Can John Smith sue Exil Petroleum?

4) Can John Smith sue HydroCo for non-contractual reasons?

Whether lawsuits are sufficient to protect John Smith's rights are outside the scope of this thread.

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Actually, one of the only things we know is that Exil has initiated force against Hydro. As such, we know that HydroCo can sue Exil for property rights violations.

We also know that John Smith had force initiated against him. However, we do not know the conditions of sale of the water to Mr. Smith. As such, we do not know if Mr. Smith can sue HydroCo. Because of this, we also do not know if Mr. Smith can sue Exil.

In other words, because of lack of details for the example, there are things which cannot be answered.

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Let me see if I understand your premise and your question.


"The Company" owns a source of water.

"The Company" dumps pollution into that water.

"The Company" sells that polluted water as drinking water.


By selling polluted water as drinking water, is "The Company" initiating force against those who purchase that polluted water, thinking it is drinking water? And would such fraud be banned?


Would you say that is an accurate summation of your premise and question? If it is, does this summation not answer itself? If it does not answer itself, what capitalist premise do you believe exists which would allow such force - such fraud? Is it that you do not know how fraud is a form of force? Or is there something else?

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In another thread, Bearster said:

"externality." This word is often used by economists to mean "a secondary or unintended consequence" (www.m-w.com). Pollution is the textbook example. The problem with this word is that it serves to obliterate the concept of "rights". One does not think of the absolute right of property, but the myriad of potential secondary consequences of one's actions.
I see how "externality" can distract the careless reader from the rights of the person suffering from the "externality", but I don't see how the word "obliterates" the concept rights.

In this thread, Bearster said:

"externality" is a package-deal pushed by libs and economists.

It is my understanding that a "package-deal" is where radically different or opposite concepts are equated by relying on non-essentials and obliterating crucial differences.

What's the package-deal with "externality"?

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Two examples of externality including polluting someone else's drinking water, and lowering his property values with one's unsightly factory next door.

Externality conflates destruction of someone's property (if not injuring or killing him) with building something next door that many buyers would not value. It conflates force with production.

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There is an essay in 'Capitalism; the Unknown Ideal' that deals with ownership/rights concerning the airwaves, re; radio, communications, intelligence. Perhaps the issue of water rights and air rights might be dealt with seperate to property. As such a company might be able to purchase rights off the owners of surrounding property that effectively ensure that when selling their land, such owners must put certain clauses into contracts that ensure pollution is kept to a minimum.

If this is accepted, any water company that fails to buy the enviromental rights to the area surrounding its immediate water source would be legally responsible for failure to take measures to protect water in the event of a pollution causing factory moving in next store.

The only caveat here is in the case of extensive water sources such as rivers; in which case I imagine a trade consortium under government auspices would have to agree the pollutant boundaries of certain river. If these were breached by Company B to the the detriment of Company A's (downstream) product a legal battle could ensue.

Evidently a set of water laws would be created, aside from the property laws, in order to allow this complex level of exchange. Note: The Government doesnt give out licences for cash, it doesnt have a commision to select which deals benefit itself, it simply acts as guarantor of each parties rights.

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