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201  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 21, 2012, 02:58:06 AM
@Fjordbit - So, your contention is that we only own the physical forms of the products of our labor, and not their value?  "Thanks spell-checking my book.  I can't pay you, so just copy down the words you fixed for your own use."  "Thanks for the lifesaving surgery, as payment have a cadaver that's had the same operation."

I'm only about an eighth of the way into Progress and Poverty.  So, I'm curious if your ideas come from Henry George.  If so, I hope he explains them a little better.

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Market forces would accomplish these goals. As you note, the tax/rent simply increases overhead, and thus, prices. Overhead is a market force. Even using a land tax, you're using market forces, encouraging efficiency by raising overhead. Profit does not come simply from monopoly control of a resource (especially when it's not a monopoly), it comes from providing that resource to the public. Let's say that instead of pay toilets, it's copper mines. There's a significant amount of overhead already in digging up copper, to say nothing of the expense of finding and getting to that copper in the first place. That sets a lower limit on the price of copper, which a land tax would only raise. If someone comes up with a more efficient method of mining copper, that allows a lower baseline price of copper, he can then underbid the others not using that process. The overhead without the land tax is more than sufficient to encourage efficiency in an open market.
Is it not possible for the price of copper to be increased through collusion?  For that matter, what would stop one person from acquiring all the copper mines in the area?  Competition tends to drive down prices, but when there are a fixed number of possible competitors, the effect is less certain.  In many industries, new competitors can enter the market at any time.  Not so with natural resources.  That's what I meant by monopolistic control.  There might be more than one mine, but still a limited number.

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On the contrary, I acknowledge that land is a scarce resource. Where we disagree is in the ownership of it in it's raw state. You contend that the land belongs to all, I contend that it belongs to none. As you say, you have the right to own the products of your labor. You also argue that the land, in it's raw state, was created by no human. I actually agree with both points. What I add to that is that you only have the right to claim the products of your own labor. The land in it's raw state is not created by human labor, thus no man has right to lay claim on it. It is unowned by anyone, and most definitely, unowned by "everyone."
If you acknowledge land is a scarce resource, perhaps it would be logical to refrain from saying things like "...there are plenty of other sites to set up coffee shops, and plenty of demand."?

The question of ownership of raw land is the real heart of the issue.  Actually, I'm tempted to say I agree with you that it belongs to no one.  However, while you do not accept that "no one" is the same as "everyone", I do not accept that "no one" is the same as "anyone".

I actually do understand now the reasoning behind the homestead principle, at least some forms of it.  If you build a house, you own the house, and if someone wants to remove it to use the land for something else, they have to buy it from you.  That makes sense.

However, land ownership gives you much more than that.  Under a personal property system, you now control not only the house but also the land underneath.  The market price for selling or renting the house will depend heavily on the location of the house.  If we're talking about stakes or signs, you can't even pretend that the value of the property has much to do with your labor.  You say that you only have the right to claim the products of your own labor, but when you "claim" land, you can get quite a bit more from it than you put into it.  At the very least, you gain not only the products of your own labor, but the products of the labor of everyone who works the land in the future.

This is clearly illustrated with practices like sharecropping.  There have been many businesses past and present that basically consist of letting someone else work the land and taking all but a small portion of the product of their labor.  The mechanic can say "Yes, my fees are high, but without someone like me your car would still be broken."  The doctor can say "Yes my fees are high, but without someone like, you'd be dead."  The landlord can say... what?

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He should compensate them for the loss of the right to claim the land that he claimed? I would see that, if they did not have the exact same opportunity that he did, and simply failed to take it. It's not compensation for opportunity lost, it's reward for waiting. One should not be paid for doing nothing. Initiative is not, in and of itself, something that entitles you to reward, but neither is the lack of it. The man who builds the coffee shop will not be getting rewarded simply for his initiative, but for his initiative in producing value - selling coffee. To say nothing of the labor and expense involved in setting up the coffee shop.
Actually, the scenario is unrealistic assuming they had the homestead system from the start- by the time the city is large enough to support a coffee shop, all the available land would have been claimed by speculators.  He might have to rent the space for his coffee shop.

Why might some people claim land and others not?  There could be any number of possible reasons.  Maybe the first ten people to arrive grabbed it all, then left it only to their eldest sons.  Maybe some of them happened to be slow runners.  Maybe they were busy doing something productive.  Maybe the city was founded in a less-enlightened time when only certain types of people were allowed to own land, and their descendents have maintained their markers since.

Whatever great qualities the speculators showed - initiative, foresight, creativity, athleticism, they were wasted in pursuit of the arbitrary and non-productive task of pounding in stakes, and so are the fortunes that the successful of them will make in rent.
202  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 19, 2012, 08:01:04 PM
@Fjordbit - We both agree that a person has the right to own the products of their own labor, yes?

You say that recreating improvements to land elsewhere, the out-bidders have fulfilled their obligation to the previous owner.

This seems to me to be a completely arbitrary gesture; even more arbitrary than pounding in stakes.  I built a mine.  I don't want a useless hole in the ground.  It has practically zero value to me.  Building one would be a waste of resources, and wouldn't mitigate the financial loss I suffered from the loss of the mine that was mine at all.  

Besides, what about the labor of picking an ideal site in the first place?  How are you going to recreate my labor of finding the copper vein?

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If you had previously claimed that land, then you, and not everyone else on the planet, have suffered a loss, and should be compensated. As for the other residents of Marrakech, there are plenty of other sites to set up coffee shops, and plenty of demand. All they have lost is the opportunity to set up a coffee shop right there, which they could have done, had they acted earlier. Should the residents of Marrakech, then be rewarded for their lack of initiative?
You know, I think one of the things that's happening in this conversation is you keep assuming a situation where unclaimed land is abundant, I keep assuming one where it's scarce.  Can we agree that both situations are possible?  Different purposes require different types of land, so at any given time some types of land might be abundant while others are scarce.  It doesn't change the moral dimension, though.  Taking something that's abundant may inflict less of a loss than taking something that's scarce, but that doesn't make it acceptable.

Initiative is a great thing when it's applied towards producing value.  It is not, in of itself, something that entitles you to a reward.  No one's being rewarded for their lack of initiative either.  It's about giving them what belongs to them.  Even you would say they all had an equal right to claim that land.  They lost this right when someone else claimed it.  The claimant took something from them.  Whether it was abundant or scarce, they have less of it than they had before.  This is what the claimant should compensate them for.

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In my system, if you don't like that, you can find a spot to set up a new pay toilet (probably not an option in a playground), or you can buy out one of the owners.
In your system, you can "buy out" the owner of the pay toilet, not by giving him enough money to make him give up the business, but by paying the rest of the kids to let you be the one to beat them up if you don't pay to pee.
Don't confuse me and fjordbit.  In "my" system, you cannot be outbid.  As long as you pay your tax you have the exclusive right to transfer ownership.

As far as the playground analogy, typed out a long detailed response 2-3 times then deleted it when I felt it was getting too silly.  Cheesy  When you say the money is being shifted needlessly, coming from the community and going back to the community, you're ignoring that it would be the same for all bathrooms regardless of success.  Less profitable ones would be paying more into the community than they're taking out, motivating the owner to either sell them or let them revert back to the commons.  This means that future entrepreneurs can enter into the market more easily.  While they'll pay more overhead in rent, they'll also have smaller start-up costs.  The goal is to make sure that business profits come from production, not from monopoly control over scarce resources.

You may be correct that in a state of perfect competition and perfectly rational actors, market forces might accomplish many of these goals.
203  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 19, 2012, 03:14:29 AM
In your extreme example, the loss is relatively small, but there still was a loss.

Let me try an extreme example.  Let's say our world is an elementary school playground.  One say, a kid takes some chalk and draws a line around the bathrooms and says "From now on, if you go in here you have to give me something, or I'll beat you up."  Can you really say the denizens of the playground have lost nothing?

The loss of an opportunity you were never going to take is no loss.

In your example, if that were the case, I would agree. But a better analogy is: One kid draws a line around one of the several bathrooms. Unless you know of any resources which can be found in one, and only one, location on the planet?
Would you say that even if I had marked the land with stakes?  I was never going to do anything with it, so it's no loss when someone else builds on it without permission, right?  And while *I* might not have wanted to set up a coffee shop in Marrakech, others in Marrakech might have wanted to, others in my country might have wanted to immigrate.  Even in your value system, their right to claim it was no greater than mine, so can it be said that my loss was smaller?

How about: one kid draws a line around the only bathroom that doesn't already have a line around it?  The number of bathrooms/resource sites is irrelevant.  If there is a good substitute available, the loss we suffered has been reduced, but not to zero.
204  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 19, 2012, 02:30:05 AM
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Even assuming that the payout only goes to those who pay in, You're still shuffling resources around to no benefit, and likely with appreciable loss to administration costs, and that's assuming there's no corruption.
I can agree to disagree about the benefit, but you're right about the rest.  I've been convinced it is a moral necessity to compensate the commons for what you take from them, but the question of how to do this is one to which I'm still searching for an answer.

What is some guy in Marrakech losing by you claiming a plot of land in Nebraska to farm, and respectively, what are you losing by the guy in Marrakech claiming a plot of land to set up a coffee shop?
The potential to do the same.  Or use that land for any other purpose.
Planning on moving to Marrakech to set up a coffee shop?
In your extreme example, the loss is relatively small, but there still was a loss.

Let me try an extreme example.  Let's say our world is an elementary school playground.  One say, a kid takes some chalk and draws a line around the bathrooms and says "From now on, if you go in here you have to give me something, or I'll beat you up."  Can you really say the denizens of the playground have lost nothing?
205  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 19, 2012, 02:14:15 AM
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Even assuming that the payout only goes to those who pay in, You're still shuffling resources around to no benefit, and likely with appreciable loss to administration costs, and that's assuming there's no corruption.
I can agree to disagree about the benefit, but you're right about the rest.  I've been convinced it is a moral necessity to compensate the commons for what you take from them, but the question of how to do this is one to which I'm still searching for an answer.

What is some guy in Marrakech losing by you claiming a plot of land in Nebraska to farm, and respectively, what are you losing by the guy in Marrakech claiming a plot of land to set up a coffee shop?
The potential to do the same.  Or use that land for any other purpose.
206  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 19, 2012, 01:53:36 AM
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Even assuming that the payout only goes to those who pay in, You're still shuffling resources around to no benefit, and likely with appreciable loss to administration costs, and that's assuming there's no corruption.
I can agree to disagree about the benefit, but you're right about the rest.  I've been convinced it is a moral necessity to compensate the commons for what you take from them, but the question of how to do this is one to which I'm still searching for an answer.

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If you can't picture it, then don't worry about it. Just picture people selling the improvements as they change land. The need to move improvements is a moral imperative to prevent people from just outbidding once a person has made many improvements. It's doubtful that this would commonly be done.
So, actually, that's not so different from homesteading.  Building an immovable improvement keeps you from ever being outbid without you agreeing to sell your improvements.

Of course this really goes back to the question I asked earlier:  What happens if I default on rent?

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In this case, you don't have a right to the copper, so the fact that you have a hole that leads to no copper isn't a big deal. But likely the miner who won the land doesn't really want to spend the money on a big deep hole and you don't really want one on your new land (btw, you pick where it goes on the new land), so you can come to some kind of monetary agreement that discharges him of his moral responsibility. The real question is why didn't you outbid him to keep the mine if it was worth so much to you and to all of society?
You really don't see a difference in value between a hole that leads to copper and one that doesn't?  What about a seaport that's on the see and one that isn't?  If it's the natural nature of these things that's confounding the issue, what about a railroad station that's connected to the tracks, and one that isn't?  A storefront on a crowded downtown street, vs one in the middle of the desert?  Unless you compensate me for my labor in a form that has value to me, you didn't really compensate me at all.

Why didn't I outbid him?  Maybe I had other financial obligations that had nothing to do with the mine.  Maybe I wouldn't sell, maybe he didn't bid, maybe he calculated that it will be cheaper to give me a useless hole in the ground than pay me a fair price for my work.  Perhaps this is the case because the new land is softer than the copper vein.  But that's not really important- even if it's true that he'll be a better miner than me, he still owes me compensation for the improvements I made, right? 

207  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 09:09:34 PM
I still can't get my head around the idea of "moving" improvements, or even replicating them.  Aside from the fact that some improvements are pretty much immovable, changing the location of an improvement can destroy its value.

"Sorry, I outbid you on this copper vein, but don't worry, I had my people dig you a mine just like this one down by the river.  Enjoy your big, muddy, copperless hole in the ground.  Well, until it gets flooded, anyway."
208  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 04:57:33 PM
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Also, don't forget that the poor person directly derives rent from the person taking their land, and all the other land in the area if not the world. The concept of poverty is not anything like the concept of poverty now. Up to the point of over population, the poor will always be able to find somewhere to live.
That's assuming that the majority of the world practices anarchogeolibertarianism.  If we're talking about starting with, say, one anarchogeolibertarian town, the rent money is as good as lost with all the free riders from other regions who draw from the pool without paying into it.  It'll be too finely diluted to do any good to anyone.

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Yes a rich person could outbid a poor person off their property, but that rich person is now morally responsible to move the poor person to a place of equal rent. This costs the rich person money and thus acts as a disincentive. And the rich person needs to pay rent on the property and this is a net benefit to society including the poor person.

I take exception to the term bullying. If the rich person wants to have exclusive right to that land, then they should have it. They have as much claim as anyone.
"Bullying" refers to the motivation, not the intrinsic nature of the act itself.  Like, "Marry me, or I'll force your fragile, bedridden mother to move to a new place every day until she dies."

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I don't really care how you move it: the key part is that you have the moral responsibility to do so and in failing to do so you don't get exclusionary right to the land nor access to the improvement. As a result, if someone were bidding on, say the Empire State Building, they would really only do it if they were also going to purchase the improvements from the current tenant. People buy and sell buildings all the time, it's not a stretch.
In that case, the system breaks as soon as someone builds a immobile improvement.  Suddenly, you can't access their property without them agreeing to sell it to you.  You can no longer bid up the rent, so it stays where it is forever.

What happens if the owner stops paying the rent, and doesn't want to sell their improvements?
209  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 06:16:37 AM
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It can be equated to the early adopter "problem" with Bitcoin. There are people, who simply by virtue of being early to the party, have a large supply of a suddenly very valuable commodity. Is this necessarily a bad thing? They recognized a sound investment, and bought in early. Yet, there are people from that group, who now have little or no bitcoins. What happened? They managed their investment poorly, and now someone else, who can better manage that investment, has it. Some of those people who have those bitcoins now are new to the community. If they manage that investment poorly, it will go to someone else, as well.
True, there are some parallels, but I think the fact that bitcoin is made by human labor, and the process of acquiring it, whether by mining, buying, or business, adds value to the whole thing, changes the dynamic somewhat.

As to the issue of old claims, let's say for example, it comes to light that my house is on land I bought from someone who's great-grandfather murdered someone for it.  The guy who was murdered had no descendents.  Can I keep the house?  If not, who do I give it to?

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Let's be clear about the deal here, there's no "homesteading" in the ancap sense. If you want exclusive right to a piece of land, then you need to bid the rent for it. If someone comes along later and outbids you, then they get the exclusive right to that land. You don't just get to keep land because you were there first, it goes to the highest bidder.

If you make improvements to the land, the improvements are morally yours. However, if you lose rights to the land then either the new rights holder will pay to move them to the closest area with the same previous rent, or more likely they will buy the improvements from you.
Ok, I have some problems with this interpretation.  While awarding the land to the highest bidder is a nice way to solve the problem of how to determine the rent rate, it offers no stability.  A rich person could bully a poor person by bidding them out of their house every so often.  

Moving improvements?  How are you going to move the Empire State Building, or the Hoover Dam, or the Taj Mahal visitor's center?  How are you going to move an orchard without causing considerable damage to the trees in the process?  How are you going to move a section of the tracks of a major railroad?

My interpretation was that by renting land at a rate (somehow) determined by the community, you gain the exclusive right of sale.  That's how you keep the value of your improvements, by selling the right to rent the land when you're done.  A highest bidder system robs you of that, and saying they'll move your improvements has some serious practical issues.
210  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 04:36:49 AM
With geoism, the first generation won't take anything from the commons without compensation.  This means they won't take as much in the first place, so by the time the next generation comes around, there will still be some left to take without artificial scarcity.  Wealth will be in the hands of people who earned it through production, not simply for being first.  New arrivals have the potential to benefit from public spending*.  They would have about as much opportunity as the first generation did.  I'd say most people would find the conditions more "fair" here, since you ask.

*I know that the idea of paying into the commons is a concept that begs further scrutiny.  Like I said, I'm still developing my ideas, so I don't really have a solid idea of how the public purse could fairly compensate everyone for the lost opportunities.

You have to answer one very important question: To whom is the compensation being paid? "The commons" is not a thing. Someone will be entrusted with the the responsibility of holding, and more importantly, dispensing, that money. Who that person is is a very important decision, and it opens a huge can of worms, which you need to deal with before you support a method of ensuring "fairness" in land ownership.

Your characterization of first and second generation of settlers is over-generalized, and fails to take into account a lot of factors. The skill or wisdom (or lack thereof) in the first generation's management of the land, the ability of the second generation, or indeed any subsequent generation, to purchase land, and environmental factors, among many other things.

Being first is important, but it is not sufficient, in itself, to ensure that the land owner is rich and prosperous, or even better off than a later arrival.
What you say re: the commons is a fair criticism, which I acknowledged in the previous post.  I don't have an answer for that at this time.

The question is, why should being first be important at all?  Another problem is similar to one I brought up very early in the thread.  How do you know whether or not a claim made centuries ago is legitimate, and what do you do if it's not?
211  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 03:32:33 AM
Homesteading is a better deal for the first generation of people to settle in an area.  After that, they'll snatch up all the land, and the next generation will have to pay them rent.  The first generation will grow richer and richer, both from rent and from rising land value from whatever the second generation does to improve the community.  The first generation will be a permanent upperclass, and every generation after will be denied the same opportunities they had, and can only hope to get good jobs working their land.

Even though this country is so much richer than it used to be, the opportunity it offers for new arrivals has shrunk considerably.  This is because the first generation has taken everything from the commons, and left future arrivals with nothing.

With geoism, the first generation won't take anything from the commons without compensation.  This means they won't take as much in the first place, so by the time the next generation comes around, there will still be some left to take without artificial scarcity.  Wealth will be in the hands of people who earned it through production, not simply for being first.  New arrivals have the potential to benefit from public spending*.  They would have about as much opportunity as the first generation did.  I'd say most people would find the conditions more "fair" here, since you ask.

*I know that the idea of paying into the commons is a concept that begs further scrutiny.  Like I said, I'm still developing my ideas, so I don't really have a solid idea of how the public purse could fairly compensate everyone for the lost opportunities.
212  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 02:16:51 AM
Ok, so what was your question again?
213  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 02:05:42 AM
I would say "Whoever filed the claim first."  I do not believe in homesteading.  To me, the question of who marked the land first or who built on it first is irrelevant to establishing ownership.

If the arbitrator and the community recognizes homestead rights, then their answer might be different from mine.
214  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 01:53:15 AM
Then whoever doesn't get the land sues the registrar for compensation.  If we both want the land more than the money, maybe one of those "arbitrators" can help us work things out.*

By the way, Fjordbit, that was a very good point about fairtax.

EDIT: * And I know that's a cop-out, but it's one that I've heard AnCaps use many, many times.
215  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 01:35:53 AM
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I guess you'll just have to figure out a way to get the person who has it to give it peacefully, then, huh?
It's going to take more than shoving a few stakes in the ground to convince me that a person "has" a piece of land.  If that person says "If you work here without paying me, I'll kill you." I'll consider it extortion, nothing more.

Well, let's suppose you stake out, in winter, the site of your future home. you leave, intending to build that home after the thaw. It is, after all, difficult to build a foundation in frozen soil. Before you can return, I come in and plow about half of those markers under, and plant a field. Just as the first shoots break the surface, You show up with the construction crew, ready to build your house.

Who is in the right, here? Is the land rightfully my farm, or your house?
Um, recall that I'm advancing the geoist perspective.  I'm still developing my ideas, so I'm not quite a fanatical geoist, but that's kind of been my role in the thread so far.

As such, my answer would be, "Whichever one of us has been paying the tax."
216  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 18, 2012, 01:09:20 AM
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I guess you'll just have to figure out a way to get the person who has it to give it peacefully, then, huh?
It's going to take more than shoving a few stakes in the ground to convince me that a person "has" a piece of land.  If that person says "If you work here without paying me, I'll kill you." I'll consider it extortion, nothing more.

I do understand your point of view and I think you raised a number of very good points that really made me think.  I think our philosophies are more similar than different.  Echoing Explodicle's sentiment, while you may not have convinced me, it was a good discussion regardless.

One point in particular you raised that was fairly thought-provoking is that I am, in fact, implying that governments/communities should have the power that I say landlords have not earned.  Leaving this power in the hands of landlords is not an acceptable solution to me either, but I do acknowledge the dissonance and will keep my mind open to a solution that solves both problems.
217  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 17, 2012, 09:03:02 PM
Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived in fully formed philosophically unified tribes isolated from each other, and there was always somewhere else to go when we encountered another tribe with an incompatible philosophy?  I live in a world of high population densities where ideologically, ethnically, and religiously fragmented peoples are forced into close proximity, personally.  There's still wilderness left out there, but not all of it is usable for every purpose.  When we need something, there isn't always somewhere else to get it.

What you've basically done there is restate the homestead/AnCap position.  Not really sure what your point is.  What you've written is what the AnCaps would believe, but the two other groups would be no less sincere in their beliefs, and in their eyes the AnCaps would be the aggressors for trying to drive them away from something that they're entitled to, and may need to live.

I guess you're basically saying that in the cases where the AnCap society is defending themselves from outside invasion, they're in the right?  But it's not that clean cut in the real world.  Ideological conflict can occur within a society, and societies are not homogenous in the first place.
218  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 17, 2012, 05:03:35 PM
I know you're going to find this objectionable, and I don't think I'll ever be able to convince you it isn't, so I leave you with this: If and when private security agencies start providing a genuine alternative to governments, I'll rethink my position.

Let me see if I get this right:

You think "I own it because I was the first one there, and marked it" (however that marking gets done) is not legitimate, but "I own it because I killed the fuckers who lived there, and anyone else who tried to move in" is?
That's what it's going to come down to in the end.  Your hypothetical AnCap community can have homesteading, if and only if your security agencies are willing and able to impose it on everyone who has a different idea of land ownership.  Any philosophical justification you can give for taking land is bound to be questioned by people with different values.  Violence is just about the only thing that's beyond question.

We live in a world where the rewards of killing are great, and often the only practical way to stop a killer is to kill them.  I'm not saying the greatest killers SHOULD have the ability to impose their will on other people, I am stating the simple fact that they DO have it.
219  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 17, 2012, 05:49:04 AM
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No, that's what the required amount of labor to claim the land does. Even if you only have to put up a fence, or post signs every five yards, that still enough work to add that stumbling block to prevent the sort of scripting attack you mentioned with domain names. Land tax would just funnel funds from both "rightful owners" and these sorts of "land-grabbers" to a monolithic entity with nobody's best interests at heart.
It may slightly slow down the rate at which land is claimed.  Less and less as people developed better 'marking technology' (I'm picturing jets carpetbombing a field with some brightly colored dye), but it would slow it down.  That still doesn't address the fundamental arbitrariness of it, nor provide any compensation for the people who have their options diminished by the act of claiming.  Besides, there's only so much land in the world, and no matter how long it takes eventually it will all be claimed, creating a landed class with a permanent advantage over the rest.



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If there must be taxation (and I do not believe there must), then land tax is one of the more fair ways to go about it. But what gives the taxing body the right to claim original ownership over that piece of land, and charge you for it's use? You'll note that this is essentially the same question you asked me. They've done nothing, except lay claim to it (and didn't even bother to mark it out), why should I pay them? What differentiates them from the guy who ran a script and claimed all the domain names?
Put simply: they conquered the land.  They proved that they are able to defeat anyone who would challenge their power.  They reached an understanding with the foreign governments of the world that they alone are sovereign within its borders, and it's this understanding and fear of war that keeps their territory safe from those foreign governments.  It is by their fiat that you are named the owner of a piece of land, and they have the means to enforce it.  I'll freely admit it's more a matter of might than right.

I know you're going to find this objectionable, and I don't think I'll ever be able to convince you it isn't, so I leave you with this: If and when private security agencies start providing a genuine alternative to governments, I'll rethink my position.
220  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Fair Tax and black markets on: October 17, 2012, 04:57:43 AM
Well, in the domain name instance, you recognized the value of that domain, and paid the minimal fees to register it. If you ask more than I value the domain, I'll just go get sex.cc, sex.org, or sex.xxx instead, either paying the minimal fee or paying a fair market value, depending on if it's been claimed yet or not.

Likewise, recognizing and claiming valuable land does not require much effort, but what if someone had come along and built a hotel atop an oil field? By recognizing and claiming that oil field, before it gets turned into a hotel, you save me the effort of demolishing the hotel, to say nothing of the expense of convincing the owners that it would be better served as an oil field than a hotel.

By claiming and retaining the land (or website) it it's original state, You save me the trouble of buying out owners who have invested in the site, and then re-developing it to my own taste. The Suffolk Energy Exchange might object to my building a porn site on its old domain, after all.
All of those things are merely possibilities.  I could have recognized its potential and preserved it in its pristine state when others wanted to develop it, or I could have grabbed it 15 minutes before you would have after overhearing you say you were going to claim it.

Bottom line is, you had access to something.  I decreased your access to that something.  Now, I want you to pay me simply to restore the level of access you had before I entered the picture.

You say that if I hadn't decreased your access, someone else might have decreased it more.  Well, that makes me like one of those armed gangs: forcing on you a protection service that you didn't ask for.  If instead of paying me you choose to go with your second choice of land or domain, I have destroyed for you the difference in value between your first and second choice.  I should be paying you for that, not the other way around.

Let's talk about domains.  If there was no fee for domain name registrations, and they were permanent, I'll bet someone would have written a script to register every single domain name anyone would ever want.  People who wanted to start a new website would either have to do everything he says and pay whatever he wants or be stuck using 30+ character long strings of random letters and numbers.  That doesn't seem like an ideal situation for free market competition.

Instead, there's still a little bit of artificial scarcity of domain names, but even the small yearly fee keeps it from getting that out of hand.  That's what the land tax would do for land.  Claiming land for future sale would still be possible, just not free.
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