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Author Topic: When It Comes to Wealth Creation, There Is No Pie  (Read 1160 times)
Anonymous
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June 20, 2011, 02:15:49 AM
 #1

http://blogs.forbes.com/objectivist/2011/06/14/when-it-comes-to-wealth-creation-there-is-no-pie/

"In accepting the pie metaphor, we concede a moral point that should not be conceded. Wealth does not arise from an amorphous social process; “society” owns no pie.

Wealth is created by, and morally belongs to the individual creator...

Richard Branson, for instance, got his start selling record albums out of the back of his car. The albums? They were his property. The money he made by selling them? His property. Branson used that money to implement his ideas for making records cheaper, phones more user-friendly, air travel less annoying. He didn’t grab a bigger piece of some socially produced pie any more than Crusoe did: he brought new wealth into existence. (The fact that he worked with other people to create his products doesn’t change the essential issue: each Virgin employee brought wealth into existence as an individual–and was paid accordingly.)”


If you find flaws in this logic and still believe man owes some other entity for his own ingenuity and labor, when even said benefactor has already been properly paid, please speak. I am genuinely curious and would be happy to listen.

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Jaime Frontero
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June 20, 2011, 04:57:28 AM
 #2

there is a debt owed by all men, to those who have gone before.

those who built the roads; oversaw the cleanliness of our food, drugs and water; created the art we sell...

i agree that society owns no pie - but to somewhat torture a rather poor (and not mine) metaphor, perhaps the tin the pie was baked in is the stuff we all share:  the stuff that holds us together.

i accept the concept of the commons.  it is a thing of value, without which we are greatly diminished.  to not see it is foolish, in my opinion.

we stand on the shoulders of giants, hoping for height.  sometimes we achieve that.  and then we need a massage...
Anonymous
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June 20, 2011, 05:18:51 AM
 #3

there is a debt owed by all men, to those who have gone before.

those who built the roads; oversaw the cleanliness of our food, drugs and water; created the art we sell...

i agree that society owns no pie - but to somewhat torture a rather poor (and not mine) metaphor, perhaps the tin the pie was baked in is the stuff we all share:  the stuff that holds us together.

i accept the concept of the commons.  it is a thing of value, without which we are greatly diminished.  to not see it is foolish, in my opinion.

we stand on the shoulders of giants, hoping for height.  sometimes we achieve that.  and then we need a massage...

The roads have been paid for. The cooks have been fully paid along with the doctors and the cleaners of our water. They are owed no further. We may build upon their products but in the end we are the 'giants' of tomorrow. We shall not become indentured slaves to our past.
onesalt
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June 20, 2011, 02:56:51 PM
 #4

Roads need maintainance, the water will always need cleaning, the doctors and suchlike need to be paid for their work.

Saying you do not wish to pay that because you don't think those costs will exist is madness.


(also atlas why are you still living in america I thought you hated it here)
Anonymous
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June 20, 2011, 05:21:54 PM
 #5

Saying you do not wish to pay that because you don't think those costs will exist is madness.
I've never said this. If you're talking about taxes, there's a difference between paying for a service you requested and one service that you are forced to used as opposed to many or in some cases, none at all.
onesalt
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June 20, 2011, 05:47:09 PM
 #6

The roads have been paid for. The cooks have been fully paid along with the doctors and the cleaners of our water. They are owed no further. We may build upon their products but in the end we are the 'giants' of tomorrow. We shall not become indentured slaves to our past.

Yes you did, right here. You imply that things which need upkeep or are ongoing issue should be paid for with a flat fee and nothing more.
Anonymous
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June 20, 2011, 05:50:19 PM
 #7

The roads have been paid for. The cooks have been fully paid along with the doctors and the cleaners of our water. They are owed no further. We may build upon their products but in the end we are the 'giants' of tomorrow. We shall not become indentured slaves to our past.

Yes you did, right here. You imply that things which need upkeep or are ongoing issue should be paid for with a flat fee and nothing more.
You misread it. The man was discussing the services of the past that built our future. I said they have already been pay for at said time. Not now and in the future.
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June 20, 2011, 06:43:54 PM
 #8

I would broadly agree with the article. But here's some food for thought re: the pie metaphor.

How do we know that an entrepreneur owns the property he creates? Why is it obvious? Property is not a natural occurrence or a force of nature; it cannot be measured or observed outside of society. Property rights can be granted or revoked by simply choosing en masse to believe or disbelieve in them. Our value systems define what is and is not legitimate property.

If Richard Branson had stolen those records by force, then they would not justly be his property, nor would they be his property if he had borrowed them from a friend and sold them without permission. Had he been contractually barred from reselling them, they would not in that sense be his property. If he had been a slave, or Jewish under Hitler, or a medieval serf, they would not have been his property. Now he's no longer an entrepreneur, he's a thief-- one who defies society's conventions for what constitutes valid ownership of property. He's taking from a piece of the pie to which he is not entitled.

Property rights themselves are necessary because of scarcity-- so scarcity itself determines the pie. Wealth morally belongs to the individual creator, but we know it is moral because we are morally educated and upright people. Were we educated differently, we might see no morality in it. Then those who educated us would have 'robbed' some creators of wealth, and 'rewarded' others. But we would see neither robbery nor reward. We would just see 'the way things are.'

So society must inevitably divide the pie--not by cutting slices, but by telling us which slices to believe in.

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Anonymous
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June 20, 2011, 07:02:19 PM
 #9

I would broadly agree with the article. But here's some food for thought re: the pie metaphor.

How do we know that an entrepreneur owns the property he creates? Why is it obvious? Property is not a natural occurrence or a force of nature; it cannot be measured or observed outside of society. Property rights can be granted or revoked by simply choosing en masse to believe or disbelieve in them. Our value systems define what is and is not legitimate property.

If Richard Branson had stolen those records by force, then they would not justly be his property, nor would they be his property if he had borrowed them from a friend and sold them without permission. Had he been contractually barred from reselling them, they would not in that sense be his property. If he had been a slave, or Jewish under Hitler, or a medieval serf, they would not have been his property. Now he's no longer an entrepreneur, he's a thief-- one who defies society's conventions for what constitutes valid ownership of property. He's taking from a piece of the pie to which he is not entitled.

Property rights themselves are necessary because of scarcity-- so scarcity itself determines the pie. Wealth morally belongs to the individual creator, but we know it is moral because we are morally educated and upright people. Were we educated differently, we might see no morality in it. Then those who educated us would have 'robbed' some creators of wealth, and 'rewarded' others. But we would see neither robbery nor reward. We would just see 'the way things are.'

So society must inevitably divide the pie--not by cutting slices, but by telling us which slices to believe in.

Property rights are only naturally derived from the concept of self-ownership. Property is acquired through the exchange of value; usually labor in the beginning and so forth... The property becomes on with the individual that produced it.

In reality, there are only two slices to believe in: the right to self or the right to acquire through mere whims and might. That's how I perceive it.
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June 20, 2011, 07:08:55 PM
 #10

Property rights are only naturally derived from the concept of self-ownership. Property is acquired through the exchange of value; usually labor in the beginning and so forth... The property becomes on with the individual that produced it.

In reality, there are only two slices to believe in: the right to self or the right to acquire through mere whims and might. That's how I perceive it.

I agree. But I think 'self' is a much more slippery concept than most of us are prepared to grapple with in any meaningful sense.

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benjamindees
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June 20, 2011, 11:09:39 PM
 #11

Would you at least concede that the Earth itself could constitute a "pie" and that by expanding human production into space we can indeed "make the pie higher"?

Civil Liberty Through Complex Mathematics
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