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Thursday, July 10, 2008

There's Nothing Wrong With Private Property

"Property is theft!" is a common mistake that fake anarchists make.

Taxation is theft. That's pretty obvious.

Private property is *NOT* theft. In the present, almost all property is stolen property. That is not the same as saying that private property is an inherently evil invention.

Suppose I build a house. My neighbor says that house isn't mine and demands I give it to him. Does that make any sense?

Suppose I work for several months and use the proceeds to buy a car. You can't demand I give you my car.

Don't confuse "physical property" with "intellectual property". There's no such thing as intellectual property. Intellectual property *IS* theft. Consider patents. Suppose you got a State license to use an idea before I did. That does not mean I should be barred from using that idea, even if I discover it independently. Similarly, copyrights on movies and songs aren't enforceable without a monopolistic State.

Physical property is legitimate property. Only one person or small group of people can use physical property at any one time.

Physical property does not violate natural law. Dogs and other animals "mark their territory". Physical property is the same concept in human terms.

However, a dog will not try to claim more territory than it needs. Similarly, a human should not claim more property than they need to live in or run their business. In a free market, acquiring more property than you need is impractical. Suppose one person can profitably manage and oversee a 1000 acre farm with modern farming equipment. It does not make sense to buy a 100,000 acre farm. People working as employees will always be less productive than owners. You could profit more by selling your surplus farmland than by continuing to farm it yourself.

In the present, all property is stolen property. Suppose I invest in real estate and buy 100 apartment buildings. I am receiving a Federal Reserve subsidy in the form of negative real interest rates. My real estate empire was subsidized by government violence. Therefore, my ownership claim to those 100 apartment buildings is not legitimate. My tenants have a stronger ownership claim than I do.

Suppose I buy a single family home and live in it myself. I am still receiving a Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy. However, there is no other person that has a stronger property claim than me. That ownership claim is valid.

Currently, the State has full allodial title to all property. Property taxes mean that nobody truly owns their land. Zoning laws, environmental regulations, and eminent domain mean that the State is the true owner of all property. Current property owners merely have a perpetual transferable lease.

When the State collapses, the current occupiers of land will have the strongest ownership claim.

What about the descendants of native Americans, who had their land stolen from them? Technically, they have a valid tort claim against everyone else. However, forcibly evicting the current occupants from their land is impractical. Besides, modern farming techniques are more productive than a hunter/gatherer society. If people genuinely want to give back to the native Americans, they should make voluntary donations. A free market court couldn't enforce such an old claim.

There has to be a time period after which old claims expire; otherwise, you have endless disputes over who owns what. For example, suppose I buy a gold coin that President Roosevelt confiscated in 1933. Does someone who owned Federal Reserve Notes in 1933 have a valid claim to my gold? No.

Private property is *NOT* intrinsically evil. People need to be able to work and store the fruits of their labor. Land ownership and other property are ways to store labor.

It's easy for fake anarchists to get confused. In the present, all property is stolen property. That is *NOT THE SAME* as private property being a bad invention in the first place. Many positive human advancements are primarily due to the right of property ownership.

One primary reason that most people are slaves is that they are denied basic property rights. Property taxes mean that people don't have full allodial title to their land. Income taxes mean that people don't have full allodial title to their labor. Income taxes mean that people need permission from the State in order to work.

6 comments:

Joey said...

A great post there. I posted some quick thoughts addendum to your post here:
http://www.blogger.com/publish-confirmation.g?blogID=4364052253544182019&postID=3083400128343239062×tamp=1215728944974&javascriptEnabled=true

FSK said...

That link is broken.

propertarian said...

"In the present, almost all property is stolen property."



That is not the same as saying that private property is an inherently evil invention.

"Suppose I build a house. My neighbor says that house isn't mine and demands I give it to him. Does that make any sense?"

If you are actually using your neighbor's materials to build you house, then you are illegitimate. Suppose if you are actually on your neighbor's lawn when you are building your house, and you did not actually know you are.

"Suppose I work for several months and use the proceeds to buy a car. You can't demand I give you my car."

This is wrong if your neighbor offers to trade your car for money.

"There's no such thing as intellectual property."

Trade secrets are a legitimate form of intellectual property.

"Similarly, copyrights on movies and songs aren't enforceable without a monopolistic State."

Copyrights on songs can be protected by trade secrets that are enforced by contracts that are enforced by reputable courts.

"Physical property is legitimate property."

Not all. You cannot own the Sun and planets.

"Only one person or small group of people can use physical property at any one time."

Not always. Undersea optic fiber Internet cables are owned by many people, perhaps millions of people, at the same time.

"Physical property does not violate natural law."

Voluntary feudal property can violate natural law.

"Dogs and other animals 'mark their territory'."
Not always. Some animals mutually share property.

"Physical property is the same concept in human terms."

Even humans mark their territory, some humans share their territory such as workers' co-ops and voluntary associations.

"However, a dog will not try to claim more territory than it needs."

If the dog actually has a weapon that could claim more property that he needs, then he would probably will.

"Similarly, a human should not claim more property than they need to live in or run their business."

You cannot judge if a human actually has more property than he needs. You are saying that you are allowed to steal someone's big house because it 'claims more property than he need to live in or run their business', therefore you can steal it.

"In a free market, acquiring more property than you need is impractical."

You cannot estimate whether if a person actually acquired more property than he is allowed to do.

"Suppose one person can profitably manage and oversee a 1000 acre farm with modern farming equipment. It does not make sense to buy a 100,000 acre farm."

If the farmer invents technology that can manage the 100,000 acre farm, then he has the right.

"People working as employees will always be less productive than owners."

Some employers mismanage his money and pay more to his employees. This happens in monetary expansion.

"You could profit more by selling your surplus farmland than by continuing to farm it yourself."

This is not always benefit. A capitalist can buy a majority of land than let others rent it at a higher price. More info

"Suppose I invest in real estate and buy 100 apartment buildings. I am receiving a Federal Reserve subsidy in the form of negative real interest rates."

Interest rate does not need to be negative for malinvestment. If the interest rate is below the natural rate, then it would also happen. The capitalist would mismange and calculate that the return of intevestment from charging rent is greater than the interest rate. See here

"My real estate empire was subsidized by government violence. Therefore, my ownership claim to those 100 apartment buildings is not legitimate."

All private property is illegitimate.

"Suppose I buy a single family home and live in it myself. I am still receiving a Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy. However, there is no other person that has a stronger property claim than me. That ownership claim is valid."

Home speculators buy homes by borrowing from a bank at negative interest rates than sell them. Some families are speculators. So some steal money.

"Currently, the State has full allodial title to all property. Property taxes mean that nobody truly owns their land. Zoning laws, environmental regulations, and eminent domain mean that the State is the true owner of all property."

The state does not own the whole planet!

"Current property owners merely have a perpetual transferable lease."

Not all. Some crony capitalists profit from land.

"When the State collapses, the current occupiers of land will have the strongest ownership claim."

Some capitalists that illegitimately occupy land cannot occupy unless they sell.

"What about the descendants of native Americans, who had their land stolen from them?"

Native Americans are not the original owners. Earlier Homo sapiens have their property stolen by Native Americans.

"Technically, they have a valid tort claim against everyone else."

Not always. Would earlier Homo sapiens, or H. neanderthalensis have a valid calim?

"However, forcibly evicting the current occupants from their land is impractical. Besides, modern farming techniques are more productive than a hunter/gatherer society."

Do you imply that Native Americans live in a hunter-gatherer style? They do not. Native Americans actually farm their land. They do not just hunt and gather wild plants!

"For example, suppose I buy a gold coin that President Roosevelt confiscated in 1933. Does someone who owned Federal Reserve Notes in 1933 have a valid claim to my gold? No."

You actually bought the gold so someone demanding you to give it is theft. Roosevelt should be charged.

"People need to be able to work and store the fruits of their labor. Land ownership and other property are ways to store labor."

Some land ownership, like the capitalists, are illegitimate.

"Income taxes mean that people need permission from the State in order to work."

Not all work.

Anonymous said...

private property is theft because it consumes finite resources. it "steals" from others the opportunity to consume them.

you labored for money. you exchanged your money for a car. you own your car.

but the guy who used iron ore to build the car did not labor to create the iron ore. yes he labored to dig it out but not to create it.

the iron ore was stolen from everyone else by its consumption. hence the car he created was not his to sell because its composed of the iron ore that he did not labor to create.

take it a step further and you'll notice that all land is owned through theft. americans stole it from the natives, natives stole it from the animals, etc.

if there are 2 human beings and one earth, how do they split the earth up? 50/50 right? what happens when the 3rd human being arrives? the only way he can now get land is through inheritance, or use of force. the very fact that the first 2 humans divided up the land among them is a de-facto theft from the 3rd human who wasn't given any.

so the 3rd must automatically become a slave to the 1st or 2nd if he wants to purchase land.

it is the same as intellectual property, you can not claim ownership over something that was created with resources that you did not create. you do not create the raw materials, so you can not sell the car you create.

you did not create the ideas you profited off of when you create your intellectual property, so you can not sell it.

private property is theft and encourages it as well for the only way to equality is to theft of it. never will you be equal to the guy you buy it from who had an unfair advantage from his inheritance of theft.

Anonymous said...

"That is not the same as saying that private property is an inherently evil invention."

Thats a morality arguement. I'm not arguing morality. I'm saying its theft. Whether you see it as evil or good is a value judgement. Some argue that bailing out homeowners is good. Some feel its evil. You can't argue morality.

"If you are actually using your neighbor's materials to build you house, then you are illegitimate."

You're not understanding the greater point that private ownership of materials is illegitimate as well because all materials are created from finite resources so your neighbor can not own materials to begin with.

"Trade secrets are a legitimate form of intellectual property."
"Copyrights on songs can be protected by trade secrets that are enforced by contracts that are enforced by reputable courts."

I've decided to end it right here and not rebut the rest because you're clearly not understanding my point. Yes according to our code of laws, trade secrets are legitimate form of intellectual property. Yes according to our code of laws, reputable courts can enforce these laws.

But according to our code of laws, ownership of private property is legitimate and not theft to begin with, which invalidates this entire conversion. You presented the quote "Property is Theft" as invalid and are backing it up with our code of laws, which you can't do because property is NOT theft according to our code of laws.

In this conversation, our code of laws are illegitimate to begin with in this discussion, so to bring them up as a way of legitimizing your claim as to what property IS and IS NOT, won't get you anywhere.

French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon didn't believe in our code of laws.

Michaek said...

Many people quote Proudhon on "Property is theft" and so assume he is some moron commie.
But, he also said "property is impossible" and "property is liberty".
It's not as simple as it seems...

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