1127: "Congress"

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styopa
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby styopa » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

Re http://xkcd.com/1127/

There's a statement that 1928 is the last time Republicans won the White House without a "Bush" or "Nixon" on the ticket.

Surely this is an attempt at a joke?

Eisenhower?
Reagan?

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neremanth
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

styopa wrote:Re http://xkcd.com/1127/

There's a statement that 1928 is the last time Republicans won the White House without a "Bush" or "Nixon" on the ticket.

Surely this is an attempt at a joke?

Eisenhower?
Reagan?

"On the ticket" doesn't mean "standing for president". Eisenhower's running mate was Nixon and Reagan's was the first Bush.
Last edited by neremanth on Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

winmine
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

Well, sir, all you have to do to disprove my assertion is to find one counter example in all of history.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

You mean, additionally to all those in the last couple dozen posts?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:52 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:A maximally free society does not mean that every individual person is maximally free. If one person's freedom would restrict another person's freedom, allowing the former freedom does not make society more free.

A maximally free society is one where each individual's freedom is limited only by respect for the equal freedom of others; where everyone is free to do anything up until the point that it reduces others' freedom. It's not a really hard concept to grasp.

Also, "own slaves" isn't really a thing for someone to do, strictly speaking; to be in the state of owning slaves is just to be in a state where others' freedom is subordinated to you. Increasing those others' freedom by making them no longer your slaves does not restrict your freedom at all; you are not suddenly prohibited from doing anything. Instead, others are suddenly not prohibited from doing things. There is no such thing as "my freedom for you to not be free" -- and I'm not just saying that I'm not free to do that, but that that's not a thing to do which could be either permitted or prohibited in the first place.

Of course there may be side issues like my freedom to beat and whip you, which is where get into issues of "freedom from" being essential to the practical enjoyment of "freedom to". It is logically possible that everyone is permitted to do everything, including prevent others from doing things by any means they choose; but that's not the kind of freedom anybody wants. What we really want is freedom from the actions of others. In this sense, maximal freedom-from actually requires quite strict limits on others' freedom-to; we are maximally free from others when others are free to do things only to themselves and their own stuff, and not free to do anything to us.

For further reading see Claim rights and liberty rights, and their relation with Positive and negative rights. A "freedom to" is a positive liberty right, and a "freedom from" is a negative claim right. There are also positive claim rights and negative liberty rights, but those are another subject.

Thanks, that was interesting stuff. (I think I was vaguely aware of the different kind of rights, probably from your posts in other threads, but I didn't know the details so it was interesting to take a look at those articles).

I guess I was thinking of "the freedom to own slaves" as translating to "the freedom to restrict the movement of certain other people designated your slaves e.g. by locking them in, and to exert violence towards them to coerce them to labour for you". I certainly don't disagree that you could have every freedom-to imagineable; my point was that you couldn't both have all the freedom-tos and all the freedom-froms, but you've made it better than I did!

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby winmine » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:10 pm UTC

speising wrote:You mean, additionally to all those in the last couple dozen posts?

I have to throw myself to the mercy of the thread spectators here, because I don't believe there have been any counter examples.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:12 pm UTC

No human government is perfect. That's all there is to it. Socialism sounds nice, but it falls apart because of human greed. A benevolent dictatorship sounds nice, but it is impossible because absolute power corrupts absolutely. In fact, I'll go so far as to say no human government is sustainably good. Every once and awhile, a government will be good, but then it will turn evil and there will have to be a revolution or something. The only solutions I can think of are either (1) to keep muddling through, like we have been doing for thousands of years, one collapsing democracy/empire after another, or (2) somehow give all power (permanently) to something that no human beings have power over. Maybe robots or something, or God if you're religious.

Edit: Oh, and you can't have a government with no power (aka all the freedom for you in the world), because of the capitalist slavery. And you can't have a government with all the power (aka no freedom) because of the Nazis. Yes that's right, I just Godwin'd.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:44 pm UTC

winmine wrote:Freer markets, people. I don't see how anyone can construe my line of reasoning in any other way.

Tell me how any transaction between two people can be better handled by the government.

I'm just - I can't believe the responses I'm getting. This isn't anarchy being advocated.


I don't know why you're having trouble with this. I'll give my first example all over again:

Two people want to have the following transaction: Bob wants to sell five well-trained slavegirls to Steve.

You and I agree that this transaction should not be allowed. A government can stop it, or at least drive it underground onto a black market that persists in spite of the laws.

How can free markets hinder the free-market slave trade?

Sometimes we agree that particular free markets are evil and should not exist. Governments often hinder such markets and sometimes nearly destroy them. How can you use good free markets to stamp out evil free markets, like the slave trade?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:30 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I don't know why you're having trouble with this. I'll give my first example all over again:

Two people want to have the following transaction: Bob wants to sell five well-trained slavegirls to Steve.

You and I agree that this transaction should not be allowed. A government can stop it, or at least drive it underground onto a black market that persists in spite of the laws.

How can free markets hinder the free-market slave trade?

Sometimes we agree that particular free markets are evil and should not exist. Governments often hinder such markets and sometimes nearly destroy them. How can you use good free markets to stamp out evil free markets, like the slave trade?

A market where some people can exercise coercive force over other does not meet the definition of a free market. Slavery is a great example of coercion. So a market where there are slaves is not a free market. A market where there are slaves can be improved by free market principles by freeing the slaves.

Free market principles would say that people should be completely free to trade anything that they own -- but that it's not possible to own another person. If I try to sell you a slave girl, that's like me trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Sure, I can accept your money and take you to it and let you walk all over it, but it was never mine and so I had no power to sell it to you in the first place.

Even Adam Smith, the veritable father of free market economics, said that a free market must be "well-regulated", meaning that people must (somehow) be prevented from coercing each other. As soon as people start coercing each other, the market ceases to be free. And yes this means that free markets are naturally unstable, fragile things -- in the same sense that peace is an unstable, fragile thing. They are easily destroyed, and hard to preserve, and must be fought for and defended at every turn.

Then there's a whole argument to be had over whether such coercion-prevention services can themselves be reliably provided by a free market, or if the regulation necessary to ensure freedom of the market has to be imposed from some non-free-market source...
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:06 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I don't know why you're having trouble with this. I'll give my first example all over again:

Two people want to have the following transaction: Bob wants to sell five well-trained slavegirls to Steve.

You and I agree that this transaction should not be allowed. A government can stop it, or at least drive it underground onto a black market that persists in spite of the laws.

How can free markets hinder the free-market slave trade?

Sometimes we agree that particular free markets are evil and should not exist. Governments often hinder such markets and sometimes nearly destroy them. How can you use good free markets to stamp out evil free markets, like the slave trade?

A market where some people can exercise coercive force over other does not meet the definition of a free market. Slavery is a great example of coercion. So a market where there are slaves is not a free market. A market where there are slaves can be improved by free market principles by freeing the slaves.


That's just not true. It's a free market when the participants in the market are not coerced in their trades. That has nothing to do with whether some third party who isn't trading in the market gets coerced.

Free market principles would say that people should be completely free to trade anything that they own -- but that it's not possible to own another person. If I try to sell you a slave girl, that's like me trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Sure, I can accept your money and take you to it and let you walk all over it, but it was never mine and so I had no power to sell it to you in the first place.


I disagree. You can buy and sell anything you own in a free market. If you own a slavegirl then you can sell her. You are adding some sort of philosophical extra stuff to this, but people have been running slave markets for thousands of years, and there's no difference between a well-run free market in slaves versus a well-run free market in cotton, except that you argue that one of them is philosophically not legitimate.

But then, there are people who argue that you should not be allowed to "own" land. If a nation has national boundaries, the nation owns the land. It can rent it to you, it can maybe give you a perpetual lease, but it cannot legitimately sell or give you its land. If you argue that you own some cotton because you own the land it was grown on, they will say that your ownership is not legitimate just as you say about the slavegirl. They say you have no right to sell cotton you don't own. But take it to the cotton market and somebody will buy. Take the slavegirl to the slave market and somebody will buy. If the government says it's stolen cotton or a stolen slavegirl then you get in trouble. But that's government for you.

Even Adam Smith, the veritable father of free market economics, said that a free market must be "well-regulated", meaning that people must (somehow) be prevented from coercing each other. As soon as people start coercing each other, the market ceases to be free. And yes this means that free markets are naturally unstable, fragile things -- in the same sense that peace is an unstable, fragile thing. They are easily destroyed, and hard to preserve, and must be fought for and defended at every turn.


That may be true. It looks to me like it's pretty much impossible to prevent coercion. It's like, if you have a strong enough army you might be able to prevent war, because people will always knuckle under rather than try to fight you. But....

Can you possibly coerce people enough to prevent coercion? No. No possible way.

Then there's a whole argument to be had over whether such coercion-prevention services can themselves be reliably provided by a free market, or if the regulation necessary to ensure freedom of the market has to be imposed from some non-free-market source...


That's what I asked winmine! He asked for an example of something that a free market isn't best at providing. And I asked whether he could find a free-market way to eliminate a free market in slaves. I don't think it would work to buy all the slaves at whatever price the slavers ask, so you can free them. Maybe in a free market, market forces will inevitably provide robots that perform so much better at anything you might want a slavegirl for, that it becomes uneconomic to enslave real people? Somehow that doesn't look inevitable to me.

Maybe you could find a free market in mercenaries, and hire an army and a bunch of assassins to kill off the slavers?

There's a question what kind of morality we ought to graft onto our free markets. Maybe we could set up a free market in moralities, where people buy and sell moral ideas, and we could tell which moralities were best by which are in the highest demand and get the best prices?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:29 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:That's just not true. It's a free market when the participants in the market are not coerced in their trades. That has nothing to do with whether some third party who isn't trading in the market gets coerced.

You're right that neither the slave seller nor the slave buyer are being coerced, but the problem there in need of a solution is not the trading of slaves, but the having of slaves. We don't need to stop people from buying and selling slaves; we need to stop people from having slaves to buy or sell in the first place. The trade is not the morally problematic part, the relationship being traded is. And as a master-slave relationship is the epitome of an unfree trade -- the slave is forced to trade his labor for whatever life support the master thinks is necessary to "maintain his property" -- so the free-market solution to that problem is to open up that market, and say that the slave has no obligation to labor for the master unless the master provides something the slave agrees is worth his labor, turning it into a freer employer-employee relationship.

If you own a slavegirl then you can sell her.

And slave ownership goes against free market principles, so the antecedent of your conditional there would be false in a free market, and thus so would its consequent. You couldn't own her, so you couldn't sell her. If you could own her, sure you could sell her; and if you ought to murder, you ought to murder gently; but you couldn't own her, and you oughtn't murder, so what would be the case if those counterfactuals were factual is irrelevant.

They say you have no right to sell cotton you don't own. But take it to the cotton market and somebody will buy. Take the slavegirl to the slave market and somebody will buy.

And some sucker might buy the Brooklyn Bridge from me, but that doesn't make it mine to sell.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:07 am UTC

A "free" market means the makret is free. It says nothing about any other freedoms. It's not "a market of the free".
Stopping people of having slaves is simply out of scope.

Oh, and slave masters do provide something worth the labor: less whipping.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:If you own a slavegirl then you can sell her.

And slave ownership goes against free market principles, so the antecedent of your conditional there would be false in a free market, and thus so would its consequent. You couldn't own her, so you couldn't sell her. If you could own her, sure you could sell her; and if you ought to murder, you ought to murder gently; but you couldn't own her, and you oughtn't murder, so what would be the case if those counterfactuals were factual is irrelevant.


I think you need some other word than "free market" here. There's nothing about making the markets free, that says the property that's bought and sold has to be free. There's nothing about free markets that says everybody in the world should have maximal freedom.

A free market is a market where the price of a good or service is, in theory, determined by supply and demand, rather than by governmental regulation. A free market contrasts with a controlled market or regulated market, where price, supply or demand are subject to regulation or direct control by government.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market


Definition of 'Free Market'
A market economy based on supply and demand with little or no government control. A completely free market is an idealized form of a market economy where buyers and sellers are allowed to transact freely (i.e. buy/sell/trade) based on a mutual agreement on price without state intervention in the form of taxes, subsidies or regulation.
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fre ... z2BWAtYFc8

In a free market, you can buy and sell without interference. In a regulated market, the government might say you can't sell that
    slavegirl,
    sequoyah tree,
    senator,
    elephant
that you own because you
    kidnapped her,
    stole the land from the indians,
    found incriminating blackmail evidence,
    bought it from an illegal exotic animal importer

because
    kidnapping is illegal,
    the government took the land from you and paid you what they thought it was worth,
    blackmail is illegal,
    exotic pets are protected by the government.

They say you have no right to sell cotton you don't own. But take it to the cotton market and somebody will buy. Take the slavegirl to the slave market and somebody will buy.

And some sucker might buy the Brooklyn Bridge from me, but that doesn't make it mine to sell.


If you sell the Brooklyn Bridge the government will stop the buyer from tearing it apart to sell as scrap, and the government will stop the buyer from putting up toll boths, etc. You own something when you control it. You can't control the Brooklyn Bridge because the government stops you. You can control your slavegirl if you have a whip, and she doesn't.

If you sell a slavegirl in the USA the government will take her away from the buyer if the government finds out. To actually keep a private slave in the USA you have to keep the government from finding out, so you can't take her anywhere in public, you can't let her talk to anybody or have access to a telephone or the internet, etc. Miserable for everybody involved. This is because of the government, and also because of public opinion.

To a large extent the government tries to regulate or stamp out things that people generally disapprove of. So for example, in the antebellum south a whole lot of people thought that blacks should be slaves, but whites shouldn't be. A lot of those were uneasy with the thought that somebody should be a slave because only one of their great-grandparents were. And they were very uneasy with the thought that a brunette white woman could be falsely enslaved because somebody claimed she had a black great-grandparent when she didn't. There were lurid stories published about respectable somewhat-educated girls getting enslaved and forced to work and be poorly fed and not allowed education, getting whipped and raped, when they weren't black. Of course respectable people didn't think that black women should get raped by white men, either. They thought white men were supposed to have sex only with their white wives and nobody else, of course. Southern governments were starting to grapple with that issue before they got destroyed and it became irrelevant.

If you did something in the US South in the old days that people generally disapproved of, somebody might possibly challenge you to a duel over it. If they felt strongly enough. You could get killed, if you agreed to the duel. And if you were a poltroon who refused to fight for your honor (or maybe even if you were willing to duel), if you did something that was unpopular enough you could get lynched. Neither of these were approved by the government, but government was not effective at preventing them, either. In the case of buying a slave that the public disapproved of, this would be a matter of private third parties interfering in free markets, rather than government interfering in free markets. By the definitions I quoted it should be OK, but I'd consider it a gray area. In a truly free market nobody should coerce either the buyer or the seller. If third-party private citizens lynch the buyer or the seller or both, that's a form of coercion.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

The term "slave" may be too loaded. How about serf? Indentured servant? Butler? Prostitute? Computer programmer? Professor? Convict? ASBO? Long-term unemployed? Bus driver? Pet?

There are many situations where a person yields some of their decision-making to another in return for material considerations - generally, the more authority they yield, the more responsibility the other party accepts for their well-being. If you sign up with a temp agency, then that agency can provide your services to third parties in exchange for a fee - not generally considered immoral, but still, a distant cousin of slavery.

Slavery (at least in most senses - there are people who make an informed choice to consider themselves another's property and are quite eloquent about their right to consent to that situation) makes a good test case because it's generally agreed to be morally wrong, and is close enough to the extreme of one person making the decisions for another to avoid most of the complicating factors that apply to, say, a Cambridge Don (who accepts the rules and structures of their college, their department, and of the university as a whole, in exchange for food, shelter and a research budget).

A medieval serf had other choices - they could give up their ties to "their" land and run away - wealthy serfs could buy their freedom (thereby relieving their former lord of the responsibility to provide for their security in times of war and sustenance in times of famine). Legally, it was difficult (but not entirely impossible) for them to change owners - a former runaway serf who eluded capture long enough to become legally free could then enter servitude to another master (if he could find one willing to take on a former runaway).

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:28 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:The term "slave" may be too loaded.


It can't be too loaded for my purposes. I want just as much emotional intensity as I can pack in there. But my natural reserve leaves me bland.

How about serf?
People claim that the original serfs were voluntary. After a few generations it might seem like there's no choice needed, but it could start that way.

Indentured servant?
By choice.

Butler?
Choice.

Prostitute?
If somebody kidnapped her and beat her until she agreed to work, she's a slave. If she was living someplace where she couldn't get a job, and after going without food for awhile she agreed to work for food, then it was her own free choice. This is an example of what Pfhorrest called positive rights as opposed to negative rights. She has a right not to get beaten up unless she does something to deserve it. (Like, for example, being homeless in the wrong place at the wrong time.) But she does not have a right to somebody else's food unless they want to give it to her. If she gets hungry and begs for a job, and nobody wants her, tough luck. If she begs for the chance to be a slave and she can't find an owner, too bad. Nobody owes her a living. If she doesn't want to starve she should hustle harder.

Computer programmer?
Choice.

Professor?
Choice.

Convict?
Choice. You can never get convicted of a crime unless you do something you know will put you in prison, right? And once again, nobody owes you a job. If you don't find any legal way to get enough money and you turn to crime, then the government feeds you in prison.

ASBO?
You don't do anything antisocial without knowing it, right? If you don't know when you're being antisocial then you need somebody to control you.

Long-term unemployed?
If you choose to be unemployed because you don't want to work, it's your own choice. If you look hard and you can't find work then it's still nobody's fault but your own. Sucks to be you.

Bus driver?
Choice.

Pet?
Ah. Say you're a cat. You do whatever you want and your "owner" feeds you pretty much what you want, lets you in and out when you want, empties your litter box, and pets you when you want to be petted. The life of Riley. But maybe they take you out and get you fixed. Of if you're a show cat, they might keep you in a little cage all the time and breed you when they want to, and after a few generations of that your kittens won't imagine any other life. If you really do consent, does it matter that you wouldn't get any choice if you didn't consent?

Anyway, it's a free market if the buyer and the seller are free. It is certainly not necessary for the property being sold to also be free. If third parties can interfere with the deal then the market is not free.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Anyway, it's a free market if the buyer and the seller are free. It is certainly not necessary for the property being sold to also be free.

Freedom doesn't even apply to property unless that "property" is also a person, which makes the exchange between "property" and "owner" a trade between two people, to which free market principles can be applied or not. This is the point I made a few posts ago which you apparently missed completely.

If Arthur offers to trade Brian his slavegirl Charlene for $X, and Brian is happy to trade $X for slavegirl Charlene, then that trade between Arthur and Brian is free, sure, and free market principles would have no problem with it and do nothing to stop it, per se.

However, the exchange between Arthur and Brian isn't the only one in this picture. There's also an exchange between Charlene and her "owner", be it Arthur or Brian. That exchange is coerced (her labor is being stolen, in effect), which violates free market principles.

So to the question "How would the free market eliminate the slave trade?", the answer is that in a free market there cannot be any slaves to be traded. If there is slavery happening somewhere, then there is an unfree labor market there.

There is the more general question of "How would the free market ensure its continued freedom?", which is the question I mentioned earlier of how can the regulation necessary to the freedom of the market be provided, and can the market itself provide it. That is a legitimate question, but it's much broader than "how do we stop the slave trade". It's basically "How can we get (and keep) a free market?" But given that there is a free market, however we manage to get one, there can be no slave trade because there can be no slaves. If there are slaves then there is an unfree market, and the question at hand then is not how to stop people from trading slaves but how to free both the slaves in particular and the market in general.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

However, the exchange between Arthur and Brian isn't the only one in this picture. There's also an exchange between Charlene and her "owner", be it Arthur or Brian. That exchange is coerced (her labor is being stolen, in effect), which violates free market principles


I can not concurr with this at all. A market dos not become unfree becaouse one party of a trade coerces another (even if we stretch the meaning of market to include what happens between slaver and slave)
A market is free if no legal third party interferes in it's working. A free market would precisely not interfere with the slaver-slave relationship.

Furthermore, you can have a free market in one good, and a different economic model in another.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:58 pm UTC

speising wrote:I can not concurr with this at all. A market dos not become unfree becaouse one party of a trade coerces another

Adam Smith would disagree. A free market is one in which all exchanges are made voluntarily. If anyone, one of the traders or a third party, is coercing someone into making an exchange they would not voluntarily make, then the market is not free. This is a major oversight of more recent "free market" advocates: the government is not the only party which can make a market unfree, and inasmuch as it acts to prevent any player in the market from coercing other players, it can actually help keep the market free.

Furthermore, you can have a free market in one good, and a different economic model in another.

I think perhaps there is some ambiguity in the word "market" here causing confusion between us. It sounds like you are talking about a market in some particular good, e.g. a market in slaves; I am talking about the market, as in, the arena in which trades of all all varieties take place, the superset of all those indefinite-article markets you're talking about. If the entire market in that greater sense is free, then there cannot be any unfree markets in the lesser within it.

So yes, you could have a free market in slaves, dependent for its existence upon the unfree theft of labor from the slaves. But in such a scenario, the overall market is not free.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:10 pm UTC

Pfhorrest's convinced me that slavery cannot by definition exist in a free market. So now I'm wondering about other things one might possibly consider it undesirable that people should trade in. For example, cannabis, heroin or nuclear weapons. (For the record, I'm undecided myself about whether ownership and trade of any currently illegal drugs should be permitted; but I'm pretty sure I don't want private citizens owning or buying/selling nuclear weapons).

One might take the position that all those things are fine to trade. In that case, there's no problem. But what if you thought people shouldn't trade them? If I understand Pfhorrest correctly, then if you also thought people shouldn't own them, there could be a prohibition on owning them, and then by the principal that you can only sell what you can own, a free market in which you could not sell any of these things could exist. One possibility would be for the government to make it illegal to own these things. In that case, you would have a society which was not free from goverment interference, but you'd have a free market that was free of government regulation (I realise that's a tautology, I'm expressing it that way for emphasis), right? But what if you were against any kind of government interference, not just in the market? Could a prohibition on owning (or just on trading) these items arise from any source other than the government, the market still being free?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

winmine wrote:The less government control, the better.

This is about the seventh time I've said this.


Except that you also said,

winmine wrote:The less government control, the better.
and
This isn't anarchy being advocated.


Limx=> 0 XGovernment Control = Anarchy.

Fail.


EDIT: added in the the other quote which I meant to post.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:13 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
speising wrote:I can not concurr with this at all. A market dos not become unfree becaouse one party of a trade coerces another

Adam Smith would disagree. A free market is one in which all exchanges are made voluntarily. If anyone, one of the traders or a third party, is coercing someone into making an exchange they would not voluntarily make, then the market is not free.


It sounds like you're talking about a "free market society" where every market is completely free, and if anybody anywhere gets coerced then it is not a completely free market society.

This is a major oversight of more recent "free market" advocates: the government is not the only party which can make a market unfree, and inasmuch as it acts to prevent any player in the market from coercing other players, it can actually help keep the market free.


I completely agree with you about this part. If we had a sense of how to measure coercion, we might easily find that some examples of coercion reduce the total amount of coercion in the system.

Furthermore, you can have a free market in one good, and a different economic model in another.

I think perhaps there is some ambiguity in the word "market" here causing confusion between us. It sounds like you are talking about a market in some particular good, e.g. a market in slaves; I am talking about the market, as in, the arena in which trades of all all varieties take place, the superset of all those indefinite-article markets you're talking about. If the entire market in that greater sense is free, then there cannot be any unfree markets in the lesser within it.

So yes, you could have a free market in slaves, dependent for its existence upon the unfree theft of labor from the slaves. But in such a scenario, the overall market is not free.


That's what's going on OK. I'm talking about actual markets where people can buy or sell. You are talking about some sort of theoretical ideal abstraction.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:32 pm UTC

It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

In general:

d) Is it coercion when I try to rise into the air, and gravity forces me to remain on the ground?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

In general:

d) Is it coercion when I try to rise into the air, and gravity forces me to remain on the ground?


Gravity has no volition, so cannot be party to a contract.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:52 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

In general:

d) Is it coercion when I try to rise into the air, and gravity forces me to remain on the ground?


Gravity has no volition, so cannot be party to a contract.


So you can't have coercion unless you have a contract between the coercer and the coercee?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:55 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

In general:

d) Is it coercion when I try to rise into the air, and gravity forces me to remain on the ground?


Gravity has no volition, so cannot be party to a contract.


So you can't have coercion unless you have a contract between the coercer and the coercee?


No, but coercion implies volition. Gravity has no volition, ergo, cannot coerce. The 'contract' part was to tie into the other stuff above.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:22 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?

I would think that should depend on how you agreed that the agreement should end if it ends early. If they agree to provide food, shelter, basic utilities and free time, then if they throw you out early after you've done what they said but have not been fed, that isn't fair. Or if you took what they provided and then left without doing what they said, that isn't fair either. If you agree that the deal can't end early, then I dunno. Is it OK to change your mind?

b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?


It is a job agreement, except that it does not pay in money and it does not specify the services you will provide. Kind of like the arrangements that were common on farms during depressions -- you work on the farm doing whatever needs doing, and you get room and board.

c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?


Shouldn't that depend on the contract? If I work for a plumbing company and I get sent around to do plumbing repairs, each new customer gets to tell me what plumbing repairs they want done. Nothing unusual about that.

On the other hand if I agree to do services for you that include analingus, we shouldn't let it be misunderstood who you can rent me out to for that. Similarly, retail jobs often include a lot of figurative coprophagia for customers, but if that turns literal the details need to be carefully specified.

In general:

d) Is it coercion when I try to rise into the air, and gravity forces me to remain on the ground?


At first sight this stuff all looks simple, but there's surprising complexity hidden in the assumptions. If you ask Santa Claus for your own private idaho and Santa Claus doesn't deliver, have you been wronged? No. Santa Claus is not obligated to give you whatever you want for Christmas, and the world does not owe you a living. You get to take whatever you can from the natural world. Eat the fruits and vegetables, kill the rabbits and the elephants. If you want, cut down all the sequoyah trees and plant cornfields where they used to be. Stripmine wherever you like. Drive anything you want extinct.

So long as nobody else has claimed those resources. If somebody else owns it then you have no rights to it because they got there first. Unless their claim is invalid. One thing that might make their claim invalid, is if they are not actually able to defend their property from you. Or if they can't defend it from evil third parties and you can, it belongs to you more than to them. Also if they aren't using it. If they don't have any immediate plans to use it and you do, maybe it's really yours.

Once you own something you have the right to trade it if you want to. Or give it away. But you have no obligation to trade or give. Say you are in the desert and you have ten gallons of water. You meet a man who has many possessions but no water, and he wants to trade. By free market rules you have no obligation to let him have any water, and if he tries to coerce you into letting him have some it's OK to stop him by any means including killing him. Even if he offers you everything he has, things that are worth far more than one of your spare water gallons. You can have his stuff when he doesn't need it any longer.

You have no right to damage other people or their possessions, unless they have first done something to you or to someone else. But this rule has subtleties. Like, say somebody has a monopoly on some product, and everybody who wants it has to go to him and pay his price. You start to make a similar product and sell it. You have damaged his monopoly and hurt him. But he had no right to own a monopoly, so you do have the right to hurt him this way.

Say you have great neighbors, and they like you too. You choose to move elsewhere, and you sell your land to a total creep who will gross out your former neighbors. Do they have any rights about this? No. You can sell to whoever you want, provided you didn't sign a contract that gives them rights. If you signed a contract that you would not sell to blacks or jews or whoever, then you are obligated to follow it unless it includes an acceptable way to renegotiate or repudiate that part. What happens if you break a contract? Presumably the person with the broken contract can go to a court of law to get it enforced, and you will be coerced into doing something or other in reparation. Without a court of law and enforcers, perhaps the person whose contract was broken might have the right to coerce you or take stuff from you until they're satisfied. I'm not at all clear about the details here, people leave them vague. As long as nobody ever breaks a contract it doesn't matter what would happen if they did break one. It's easier to think about what happens in a free market society where nobody breaks contracts.

What happens if instead of selling your land to somebody who annoys people, you sell it to somebody who mixes chemicals that make weird smells that might be poisonous? Then the neighbors have a valid complaint after all. Their new neighbor is damaging them and their property. They can make him stop, though they can't make you come home.

What if he plays horrible music at 150 decibels? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s680M8b ... re=related 120 decibels? 70 decibels? Somebody has to decide how much is too much.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:36 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:


c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?


Shouldn't that depend on the contract? If I work for a plumbing company and I get sent around to do plumbing repairs, each new customer gets to tell me what plumbing repairs they want done. Nothing unusual about that.


That's where the "transferable" comes in - by agreement, you are allowed to transfer the right to tell me what to do to a third party. The question is whether a free market is compatible with exercising that aspect of the agreement?

***

Back to the more general questions:

Suppose you have a modified form of slavery, whereby, rather than being born into slavery and having no choice, you can only become a slave as an adult, and only by choosing to enter into a contract with another person (with no coercion beyond the necessity of having a means of supporting yourself in order to remain alive)
e)Is the offering of such contracts to potential slaves compatible with a free market?
f)Is the transfer of ownership of said contracts compatible with a free market?


More generally (and echoing J Thomas):

g) To what extent are voluntarily agreed contracts binding and enforceable in a free market?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:49 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

A thought experiment like this is the basis of my revision of free market economics and libertarianism more generally via the rejection of contracts entirely (if transfer of ownership doesn't count as a contract, as I don't; "rejection of all contracts besides transfer of ownership" otherwise). You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts). Though as rights to particular actions are conditional upon consent, there is still some factor of agreement in there; you have a right to punch me if I consent, so I can change whether you have a right to punch me by changing my consent, but I can't change whether or not you need me consent to punch me without selling myself to you. And (and I'll admit that I haven't sorted out the groundwork for this part rigorously yet), everyone inherently owns themselves, and so cannot sell themselves, only their incidental properties.

This not only rules out slavery as seems to be the point here, but also any of its lesser descendents, including rent and interest. That eliminates the primary mechanism by which wealth accumulates more wealth in traditional so-called "free" markets, and achieves many of the goals of socialism by adhering more strictly to the fundamental principles of libertarianism (namely the primacy of property rights). I call the resulting economy a "usury-free market".

Of course this also undermines the social contracts with contemporary states appeal to for their justification, and so requires a refactoring of government into a form that doesn't rely on a traditional state.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:45 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

A thought experiment like this is the basis of my revision of free market economics and libertarianism more generally via the rejection of contracts entirely (if transfer of ownership doesn't count as a contract, as I don't; "rejection of all contracts besides transfer of ownership" otherwise). You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts). Though as rights to particular actions are conditional upon consent, there is still some factor of agreement in there; you have a right to punch me if I consent, so I can change whether you have a right to punch me by changing my consent, but I can't change whether or not you need me consent to punch me without selling myself to you. And (and I'll admit that I haven't sorted out the groundwork for this part rigorously yet), everyone inherently owns themselves, and so cannot sell themselves, only their incidental properties.

This not only rules out slavery as seems to be the point here, but also any of its lesser descendents, including rent and interest. That eliminates the primary mechanism by which wealth accumulates more wealth in traditional so-called "free" markets, and achieves many of the goals of socialism by adhering more strictly to the fundamental principles of libertarianism (namely the primacy of property rights). I call the resulting economy a "usury-free market".

Of course this also undermines the social contracts with contemporary states appeal to for their justification, and so requires a refactoring of government into a form that doesn't rely on a traditional state.


Excellent! A beautiful attempt.

I expect this cannot be foolproof. You have to divide things up into rights that can be exchanged versus rights that can't, and people generally have not made that distinction in recorded history. There are potential problems with exchange of partial rights and with exchange of real present rights for contingent or future rights. But it looks creative and original to me, and it tries to resolve contradictions that most people prefer to ignore.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:48 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote: You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts).


This is incorrect. Easements are rights for use that are transferred between parties without a transfer of ownership. For example, most roads (in New England) are right-of-ways, which are a specific kind of easement for travel by the public (though there are private right of ways as well). It allows for passage over the subject area, whether by foot, or animal, or vehicle (though restrictions can be put on them), so long as the use of such passage does not disturb the other rights of ownership of the parcel owner. Most right of ways also have utility easements, for overhead communications, overhead power, underground power, stormwater drainage, sewer, etc. All of these are rights of use of a parcel of land, but do not transfer ownership in the parcel itself.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:08 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:It seems we need a clearer understanding of terminology.

If I agree to give you a renewable, transferable right to tell me what to do for a fixed period in exchange for you guaranteeing me access to food, shelter and basic utilities and a guaranteed minimum of free time for a similar fixed period:

a) Is it coercion when you attempt to enforce that agreement?
b) Is this agreement one which could be made under a free market?
c) Would you be able to sell the right to tell me what to do to a third party in a free market?

A thought experiment like this is the basis of my revision of free market economics and libertarianism more generally via the rejection of contracts entirely (if transfer of ownership doesn't count as a contract, as I don't; "rejection of all contracts besides transfer of ownership" otherwise). You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts). Though as rights to particular actions are conditional upon consent, there is still some factor of agreement in there; you have a right to punch me if I consent, so I can change whether you have a right to punch me by changing my consent, but I can't change whether or not you need me consent to punch me without selling myself to you. And (and I'll admit that I haven't sorted out the groundwork for this part rigorously yet), everyone inherently owns themselves, and so cannot sell themselves, only their incidental properties.

This not only rules out slavery as seems to be the point here, but also any of its lesser descendents, including rent and interest. That eliminates the primary mechanism by which wealth accumulates more wealth in traditional so-called "free" markets, and achieves many of the goals of socialism by adhering more strictly to the fundamental principles of libertarianism (namely the primacy of property rights). I call the resulting economy a "usury-free market".

Of course this also undermines the social contracts with contemporary states appeal to for their justification, and so requires a refactoring of government into a form that doesn't rely on a traditional state.


Excellent! A beautiful attempt.

I expect this cannot be foolproof. You have to divide things up into rights that can be exchanged versus rights that can't, and people generally have not made that distinction in recorded history. There are potential problems with exchange of partial rights and with exchange of real present rights for contingent or future rights. But it looks creative and original to me, and it tries to resolve contradictions that most people prefer to ignore.


There are some obvious weak-points around consent and the possibility of consent being binding/non-binding - at what point is it too late to withdraw my consent to you punching me? At what point can I withdraw my consent to you living in my house? And what stops me from charging you at that point for my continued consent? And aside from you having no way to prevent my taking your money and then kicking you out anyway, how does this differ from you renting my house?


Secured loans are also still possible under this system - I exchange a sum of money for some valuable item, with the understanding either that I will keep it and sell it back to you at a higher price at a future date, or that I will keep it as long as you continue to give me small sums of money periodically - I have a strong incentive to live up to my side of the deal since, whether you default or not, I end up ahead, and, while I could plausibly make a higher short-term profit by cheating you, in the long-term, a good reputation will bring me far more.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:15 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote: You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts).


This is incorrect. Easements are rights for use that are transferred between parties without a transfer of ownership. For example, most roads (in New England) are right-of-ways, which are a specific kind of easement for travel by the public (though there are private right of ways as well). It allows for passage over the subject area, whether by foot, or animal, or vehicle (though restrictions can be put on them), so long as the use of such passage does not disturb the other rights of ownership of the parcel owner. Most right of ways also have utility easements, for overhead communications, overhead power, underground power, stormwater drainage, sewer, etc. All of these are rights of use of a parcel of land, but do not transfer ownership in the parcel itself.


Ummm, you do realise that he was describing, not the current system, but his proposed alternative?

Under the current system, right-of-ways are supported by a legal framework; under Pfhorrest's proposal, depending on how consent works, they may consist of some kind of general consent for others to use the land for that purpose (not creating any new rights to that land) or there may be some other mechanism for allowing people to reliably use a stretch of road, or right-of-ways may not be a meaningful concept and travel from one place to another may require either the use of unowned land, or negotiation of consent for each stretch.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote: You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts).


This is incorrect. Easements are rights for use that are transferred between parties without a transfer of ownership. For example, most roads (in New England) are right-of-ways, which are a specific kind of easement for travel by the public (though there are private right of ways as well). It allows for passage over the subject area, whether by foot, or animal, or vehicle (though restrictions can be put on them), so long as the use of such passage does not disturb the other rights of ownership of the parcel owner. Most right of ways also have utility easements, for overhead communications, overhead power, underground power, stormwater drainage, sewer, etc. All of these are rights of use of a parcel of land, but do not transfer ownership in the parcel itself.


Ummm, you do realise that he was describing, not the current system, but his proposed alternative?

Under the current system, right-of-ways are supported by a legal framework; under Pfhorrest's proposal, depending on how consent works, they may consist of some kind of general consent for others to use the land for that purpose (not creating any new rights to that land) or there may be some other mechanism for allowing people to reliably use a stretch of road, or right-of-ways may not be a meaningful concept and travel from one place to another may require either the use of unowned land, or negotiation of consent for each stretch.


Ah, I missed that he was doing a thought experiment, mea culpa. But regardless, some sort of system much like it would have to exist, else there would be no reliable method of transport of goods or utilities. Additionally, how would you determine what is 'unowned' land? As far as I am aware, all land (in the US) is either claimed by an individual (using the term loosely, to describe persons or corporations or what-have-you) or a government entity (public lands). Having possession and having title to a parcel of land are also things that need to be taken into account - can you have ownership without having possession? Additionally, how would you deal with land-locked parcels, if no-one will sell you an access parcel, if the only way to exchange rights is via ownership?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote: You have whatever rights and obligations you have based on who owns what; you have rights to do anything to your property and rights against anyone else doing anything to it against your consent, and obligations corresponding to others' equal rights. You can change who has what rights only by exchanging ownership, not by any kind of mutual agreement (i.e. contracts).


This is incorrect. Easements are rights for use that are transferred between parties without a transfer of ownership. For example, most roads (in New England) are right-of-ways, which are a specific kind of easement for travel by the public (though there are private right of ways as well). It allows for passage over the subject area, whether by foot, or animal, or vehicle (though restrictions can be put on them), so long as the use of such passage does not disturb the other rights of ownership of the parcel owner. Most right of ways also have utility easements, for overhead communications, overhead power, underground power, stormwater drainage, sewer, etc. All of these are rights of use of a parcel of land, but do not transfer ownership in the parcel itself.


Ummm, you do realise that he was describing, not the current system, but his proposed alternative?

Under the current system, right-of-ways are supported by a legal framework; under Pfhorrest's proposal, depending on how consent works, they may consist of some kind of general consent for others to use the land for that purpose (not creating any new rights to that land) or there may be some other mechanism for allowing people to reliably use a stretch of road, or right-of-ways may not be a meaningful concept and travel from one place to another may require either the use of unowned land, or negotiation of consent for each stretch.


Ah, I missed that he was doing a thought experiment, mea culpa. But regardless, some sort of system much like it would have to exist, else there would be no reliable method of transport of goods or utilities. Additionally, how would you determine what is 'unowned' land? As far as I am aware, all land (in the US) is either claimed by an individual (using the term loosely, to describe persons or corporations or what-have-you) or a government entity (public lands). Having possession and having title to a parcel of land are also things that need to be taken into account - can you have ownership without having possession? Additionally, how would you deal with land-locked parcels, if no-one will sell you an access parcel, if the only way to exchange rights is via ownership?


I think there's room for very interesting results starting from the concept that only ownership can be transferred, and not contractual agreements. I'm not sure how to prevent people from making agreements. The whole thing might collapse, but it's worth a lot of thought by somebody.

Perhaps you can sell a "trip" across your land. Kind of like selling a bus ticket. Once somebody owns a "trip" then he has the right to a seat in the bus until the bus arrives at some particular place, and he can transfer that right to somebody else.

Similarly interest. If I sell you $100 today in exchange for $108 this date next year, it's a simple exchange of property but it's also a loan. If I sell you my house for $24000 plus my house in good order on this date next year, that's also a simple exchange of property but it's also rent. I think if we want to stop interest and rent it isn't enough to eliminate contracts other than straight sales. We also have to eliminate sales that do not happen instantly. If I sell you my house and I can't get it back, that's a straight sale and it isn't the least bit rent.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Similarly interest. If I sell you $100 today in exchange for $108 this date next year, it's a simple exchange of property but it's also a loan. If I sell you my house for $24000 plus my house in good order on this date next year, that's also a simple exchange of property but it's also rent. I think if we want to stop interest and rent it isn't enough to eliminate contracts other than straight sales. We also have to eliminate sales that do not happen instantly. If I sell you my house and I can't get it back, that's a straight sale and it isn't the least bit rent.


If you want to rent your house to me, you don't need to give me any rights whatsoever - all you need to do is give consent to me living there and then periodically request money from me in exchange for not withdrawing your consent...

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Similarly interest. If I sell you $100 today in exchange for $108 this date next year, it's a simple exchange of property but it's also a loan. If I sell you my house for $24000 plus my house in good order on this date next year, that's also a simple exchange of property but it's also rent. I think if we want to stop interest and rent it isn't enough to eliminate contracts other than straight sales. We also have to eliminate sales that do not happen instantly. If I sell you my house and I can't get it back, that's a straight sale and it isn't the least bit rent.


If you want to rent your house to me, you don't need to give me any rights whatsoever - all you need to do is give consent to me living there and then periodically request money from me in exchange for not withdrawing your consent...


Yes, you can do that. If you will agree to a minute-to-minute lease, then you pay whatever you're willing whenever I ask, and move out whenever I set the price too high.

What I'm looking for is a way to have a contract that isn't a sale, arranged so that when the intellectual police come and try to arrest me for it I can argue that it's really a sale after all.

"No sir, officer! This is not a mutual agreement other than exchange of property. This is straight exchange of property, all right and tidy. I traded rmsgrey my house today, and what he traded me for it was 12 monthly cash payments and my house this time next year."
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:08 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:This not only rules out slavery as seems to be the point here, but also any of its lesser descendents, including rent and interest.

Whoa - you'd get rid of rent and interest? Are you expecting people to live with their parents until they've earnt enough to buy a house; or will accommodation be much much much cheaper than at present (say £500 (c.$800) for a studio flat); or are you envisaging some of the ways round it that J Thomas or rmsgrey have been suggesting? Because if none of those, it seems like that's a way to have an awful lot of homeless people.

Also, what about things like hotels or holiday cottages? Cars? Bikes? Luggage lockers? Ice skates? I totally agree that it would be much fairer if it were easier for people to get on the property ladder rather than be trapped renting, but I don't think a world that you weren't allowed to rent things in would be great either. Similarly, is your imagined world going to include benevolent sponsors of those who would like to attend university who are prepared to pay their tuition and expect nothing in return (whether those sponsors be the government or private individuals), or is university going to be open only to those whose parents have managed to amass enough money to pay for them?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:12 pm UTC

neremanth wrote:Whoa - you'd get rid of rent and interest? Are you expecting people to live with their parents until they've earnt enough to buy a house; or will accommodation be much much much cheaper than at present (say £500 (c.$800) for a studio flat); or are you envisaging some of the ways round it that J Thomas or rmsgrey have been suggesting? Because if none of those, it seems like that's a way to have an awful lot of homeless people.


Actually, in the actual absence of rent and interest, rather than just the absence of laws regulating them, house prices would plummet pretty quickly - part of the reason house prices have climbed so high is that people can take out a mortgage and buy a house that way. Another part is that owning a house to rent out is a solid investment, so those wealthy enough to own a second house in the first place (often involving more mortgages) can get an additional income by doing so.

If houses only sold to people who could pay for them up-front, and their only way to get money out of the house were by selling it in turn, then there would (effectively) be almost no demand for houses until the price adjusted.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby neremanth » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:23 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Actually, in the actual absence of rent and interest, rather than just the absence of laws regulating them, house prices would plummet pretty quickly - part of the reason house prices have climbed so high is that people can take out a mortgage and buy a house that way. Another part is that owning a house to rent out is a solid investment, so those wealthy enough to own a second house in the first place (often involving more mortgages) can get an additional income by doing so.

If houses only sold to people who could pay for them up-front, and their only way to get money out of the house were by selling it in turn, then there would (effectively) be almost no demand for houses until the price adjusted.

Oh, I totally agree that houses would become cheaper if there was no renting. And I am frustrated by how much harder to get on the housing ladder it is with house prices bumped up by all the buy-to-let that there has been. So I would totally be in favour of somehow decreasing the proportion of renters and increasing the proportion of buyers.

It's just that I don't think that, even in a situation where there was no renting at all, houses could possibly decrease in price enough that they would be affordable to someone just starting their first job, without a loan. So I'm saying, if there is no renting and no loans, wouldn't people have to live with their parents for maybe five or ten years longer than is currently typical, until they had managed to save up the entire price of a house?

I mean, maybe if you got rid of renting completely but still allowed interest-charging loans? Or, I don't know, maybe living with your parents isn't so bad, if it's the norm and if they give you your privacy.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby speising » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:25 pm UTC

If that is true, effectively no new houses would be built.
Have you ever built a house? Do you know what that costs? Are prices for houses really much higher than costs?


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