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Author Topic: In Defense of Private Property (in the Marxist sense)  (Read 5395 times)
BitterTea
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January 30, 2011, 10:38:54 PM
 #1

Different sorts of Anarchists often seem to be arguing for a state when debating since we have different ideas as to what constitutes bad power.

I somewhat agree with this, but not entirely. From my experience, right-anarchists are tolerant of left-anarchist communities in their midst, but the reverse is not true. During the course of arguing against top down organization, one necessarily loses the ability to dictate which type of society would or should come about in the absence of the state.

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The main reason that, IMO, Capitalist and Socialist anarchists need to keep debating is that I doubt that corporations would simply wither away if the framework of government were removed. Yes, a Democratic government is far from an ideal solution, and yes the corporations do capture it and use it to enrich themselves.  However it is still preferable to the corporations ruling directly, which is what will happen if they are left in possession of all the resources that they currently possess without the government to keep them in line.

I just explained previously why a state is necessary for the survival of large corporations - it provides taxpayer subsidized defense services. The idea that the state would collapse and the large corporations would what, take its place? It's ridiculous. The government we have today is only able to continue functioning because a large percentage of people are under the illusion that it is able to continue functioning. There would be no such illusion if corporations tried to take the place of government. People would not so willingly submit to their "new" overlords, I don't think.

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I have no problem with market anarchists, in fact I am one, as are many of you who label yourself capitalist

I subscribe to voluntaryism, or anarchy without adjectives.

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as long as there is support for ownership of capital determining production, rather than actual use of production determining production then there is support for government.

All arguments against the private ownership of capital I have seen fall back on the Labor Theory of Value, which I find does not describe reality very well at all. If you would like to defend LTV or propose an alternate argument against the private ownership of capital please feel free.
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February 02, 2011, 08:43:34 AM
 #2

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as long as there is support for ownership of capital determining production, rather than actual use of production determining production then there is support for government.

What does this exactly mean? "actual use of production determining production"?


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February 02, 2011, 08:45:49 PM
 #3

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as long as there is support for ownership of capital determining production, rather than actual use of production determining production then there is support for government.

What does this exactly mean? "actual use of production determining production"?

It means this.

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.

Ownership of the factory is a convenient legal fiction, it's a form of capital and isn't really sustainable without force.

 
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February 02, 2011, 08:59:06 PM
 #4


It means this.

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.

Ownership of the factory is a convenient legal fiction, it's a form of capital and isn't really sustainable without force.

Does that mean if I don't live in my house, than I don't own my house?

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February 02, 2011, 09:24:59 PM
 #5

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.
That doesn't make any sense. Why not to the workers who made machines used by the factory? And to the workers who mined raw materials? Maybe the machines do 90% of the work, not the workers inside the factory? Of course I don't expect any sense from communistic ideas.

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February 02, 2011, 09:26:15 PM
 #6

I like how Marxists believe the owner produced no valuable work at all.
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February 02, 2011, 09:32:10 PM
 #7

Quote "Why not to the workers who made machines used by the factory? And to the workers who mined raw materials?"

Because they are workers? Therefore like all workers they were cheated out of the products of their labour?

-MarkM- (Just guessing... More likely because they are now in process of owning the places they are making machines and mining in?)

Edit: I thought it was workers own the means of production, not workers own the products others go on to use to produce things...


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February 02, 2011, 09:35:23 PM
 #8

What do you mean cheated? They were paid for their work (unless they were slaves).


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February 02, 2011, 09:40:40 PM
 #9

Earlier poster seems to imply they are cheated out of ownership of the shoes but I think Marx was more about they were cheated out of the tools of their trade - the means of production. (In Celtic "triads" the tools of one's trade is one of the three things that cannot (as in must not / should not) be taken from someone.) (Actually it was sexistly worded though at least in translations I've seen as compared to some brands of antisexism.)

So maybe if the workers should own the factory they make shoes with the capitalist should own the propaganda machine (money or whatever) used to herd workers into the idea that owning a shoe factory aka making shoes in one is a good idea?

-MarkM-

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February 02, 2011, 09:43:42 PM
 #10

Shouldn't the workers send the machines back to the factory which produced the machines?
And give the building back to the workers who built it?

The workers in the factory never owned the means of production from the factory. Even if it was stolen, it wasn't stolen from them. Maybe they were stolen once, but who said the workers (who were hired and were PAID for their work) are the ones who should get it? Maybe they are grand-grand-grand-children of some tribe who stole it in the first place 5000 years ago?

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February 02, 2011, 09:46:34 PM
 #11

Maybe simple abandonment? The owner went off to bed instead of staying in the factory making shoes so by default he now owns a bedroom for the night while the night shift owns the factory for the night?

Then later they go off to own a bed someplace and the dayshift takes ownership of the factory?

-MarkM-

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February 02, 2011, 10:02:15 PM
 #12

Just because I go sleep doesn't mean I abandon all my property besides the bed. Abandonment means I'm not willing to use it in the future. Also I don't like the idea of sharing my bedroom with some bums only because somehow they managed to get inside my house when I was away. This could work in a filthy cave perhaps, not in a civilized society. It makes any savings completely pointless because anyone can come and take it. All you would achieve would be people hiding goods like squirrels walnuts.

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February 02, 2011, 10:31:45 PM
 #13

Well maybe Marx had a stash someplace. Anyone find it yet?

-MarkM-

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February 02, 2011, 10:41:00 PM
 #14

Ownership of the factory is a convenient legal fiction, it's a form of capital and isn't really sustainable without force.

Yeah, also your life isn't sustainable without force if someone decides to come and take it.

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February 02, 2011, 10:51:01 PM
Last edit: February 02, 2011, 11:16:25 PM by markm
 #15

Yeah. I think it might have been one of the Marines (as in once one always one aka maybe "retired") on NetMarketingForum (a dot com) who brought up some great possible quote possible mere top of head summary along the lines of

What has violence ever achieved? Other, of course, than abolishing slavery, ending this that or the other world war, accomplishing this that or the other great thing.

It was a pretty decent-sounding list of accomplishments actually. Uh, I mean wow it was a nicely crafted piece of propaganda. But hey like I said I think it was one of the Marines so military grade is to be expected, yes?

Maybe googling could come up with it even, not sure.

(Hmm maybe it was "accomplished" not "achieved" and in answer to a googly-famous poem or work that had a different bias...)

-MarkM-

Editted: added "abolishing slavery" as one of the accomplishments/achievements I recall.

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February 02, 2011, 11:11:39 PM
 #16

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.
That doesn't make any sense. Why not to the workers who made machines used by the factory? And to the workers who mined raw materials? Maybe the machines do 90% of the work, not the workers inside the factory? Of course I don't expect any sense from communistic ideas.

Who enforces this ownership?  Without a government of some sort you can't. 

As far as raw materials, you extract raw materials, then you trade them to someone who is going to use them to make finished goods.  Same with production machinery.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:16:12 PM
 #17

I like how Marxists believe the owner produced no valuable work at all.

Didn't say that.  I said that his ownership cannot be maintained without a government.

If he does valuable work and trades it to someone for something, great.  if he attempts to simply maintain ownership and collect rent then there is going to have to be a government to protect his right to do so.

I'm not saying anarcho-capitalism is evil,  I'm saying it's impossible. 

As to your house Kiba, if you are renting it out to someone else, then it's his house (just like that truck that Russian Truck driver was driving in the example someone brought up earlier)

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:18:48 PM
 #18

Didn't say that.  I said that his ownership cannot be maintained without a government.

Protection of property is impossible without government?

How about I just setup traps and access codes?

Hey, if my machine cuts your head off at night, it's not my fault - I told you not to touch it!  Grin

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February 02, 2011, 11:23:36 PM
 #19

Didn't say that.  I said that his ownership cannot be maintained without a government.

Protection of property is impossible without government?

How about I just setup traps and access codes?

Hey, if my machine cuts your head off at night, it's not my fault - I told you to not touch it!  Grin

good for you. And if you are the one working your machine that works just fine.

The means of production are then owned by the producers.

Meanwhile if you hire someone else to use your machine he won't be able to, it will cut off his head.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:25:32 PM
 #20

Quote "Hey, if my machine cuts your head off at night, it's not my fault - I told you not to touch it"

Yeah but the Organic Peripherals Manual Page claims mantrap and/or spring gun use also fires up certain Organic Peripheral Behavioral Subroutines...

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February 02, 2011, 11:26:04 PM
 #21

As to your house Kiba, if you are renting it out to someone else, then it's his house (just like that truck that Russian Truck driver was driving in the example someone brought up earlier)

The landlord is supposed to maintain the house and the tenant is supposed to complain to the landlord. That's how it suppose to work, no?

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February 02, 2011, 11:27:23 PM
 #22

As to your house Kiba, if you are renting it out to someone else, then it's his house (just like that truck that Russian Truck driver was driving in the example someone brought up earlier)

The landlord is supposed to maintain the house and the tenant is supposed to complain to the landlord. That's how it suppose to work, no?

If that's how the landlord and the tenant wish to arrange it.

Depends on how much you are charging for your maintenance services, and besides, if I have nothing that needs to be maintained, why should I pay you?

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:27:35 PM
 #23

Didn't say that.  I said that his ownership cannot be maintained without a government.

Protection of property is impossible without government?

How about I just setup traps and access codes?

Hey, if my machine cuts your head off at night, it's not my fault - I told you to not touch it!  Grin

good for you. And if you are the one working your machine that works just fine.

The means of production are then owned by the producers.

Meanwhile if you hire someone else to use your machine he won't be able to, it will cut off his head.

nah, it can have retinal scanners, owner types code - let him work for 1 day, if you want to get paid and work tomorrow give me the boots you "produced" (it's not only "producer" who made it - machine also makes it and workers who produced materials, many workers might work on different parts etc - another commie nonsense to say the worker in factory owns the shoe he made)

Of course I doubt it would be needed because in normal society private property would be respected.

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February 02, 2011, 11:28:18 PM
 #24


If that's how the landlord and the tenant wish to arrange it.

Depends on how much you are charging for your maintenance services, and besides, if I have nothing that needs to be maintained, why should I pay you?

Because I still own the damn place?

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February 02, 2011, 11:29:14 PM
 #25

Didn't say that.  I said that his ownership cannot be maintained without a government.

Protection of property is impossible without government?

How about I just setup traps and access codes?

Hey, if my machine cuts your head off at night, it's not my fault - I told you to not touch it!  Grin

good for you. And if you are the one working your machine that works just fine.

The means of production are then owned by the producers.

Meanwhile if you hire someone else to use your machine he won't be able to, it will cut off his head.

nah, it can have retinal scanners, owner types code - let him work for 1 day, if you want to get paid and work tomorrow give me the boots you "made" (it's not only worker who made it - machine also makes it and workers who produced materials - another commie nonsense)

Of course I doubt it would be needed because in normal society private property would be respected.

Then he gets outcompeted by the worker owned cooperative because he has to pay overhead on the machine security and also because his workers don't give a damn how good of boots they make, they aren't in business for themselves.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:30:09 PM
 #26


If that's how the landlord and the tenant wish to arrange it.

Depends on how much you are charging for your maintenance services, and besides, if I have nothing that needs to be maintained, why should I pay you?

Because I still own the damn place?

Says you.

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:31:22 PM
 #27

Then he gets outcompeted by the worker owned cooperative
wait, so the workers cooperative can afford their own factory? So not all means of the productions is in the hands of big evil capitalists?

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

You don't need any government, you just need a gun to protect yourself from thieves.
Also most people respect property, so you can count on their guns too.

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February 02, 2011, 11:33:59 PM
 #28

Says you.

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

So property right have no meaning in your world?

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February 02, 2011, 11:36:31 PM
 #29

Then he gets outcompeted by the worker owned cooperative
wait, so the workers cooperative can afford their own factory? So not all means of the productions is in the hands of big evil capitalists?

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

You don't need any government, you just need a gun to protect yourself from thieves.
Also most people respect property, so you can count on their guns too.

I assume some factories were taken during the revolution that led to an Anarchist society.

And you just made it into a who has more guns contest. I assure you, the people with the most guns don't respect property.  You can see that by the way the government has been behaving currently.  They strongly believe all the property to be theirs.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:37:29 PM
 #30

Then he gets outcompeted by the worker owned cooperative
wait, so the workers cooperative can afford their own factory? So not all means of the productions is in the hands of big evil capitalists?

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

You don't need any government, you just need a gun to protect yourself from thieves.
Also most people respect property, so you can count on their guns too.

Then he gets outcompeted by the worker owned cooperative
wait, so the workers cooperative can afford their own factory? So not all means of the productions is in the hands of big evil capitalists?

Without a government of some sort to enforce your ownership you don't (or the agreement of the tenant of course)

You don't need any government, you just need a gun to protect yourself from thieves.
Also most people respect property, so you can count on their guns too.

I assume some factories were taken during the revolution that led to an Anarchist society.

And you just made it into a who has more guns contest. I assure you, the people with the most guns don't respect property.  You can see that by the way the government has been behaving currently.  They strongly believe all the property to be the
irs.
Land claims agencies and private property enforcement are really interesting. Here are some sources you guys should read providing historical examples of how this works in practice Smiley

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/long1.html

http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_1/3_1_2.pdf
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February 02, 2011, 11:39:47 PM
 #31

We need to get back to the basic and discuss ethical philosophy.

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February 02, 2011, 11:43:23 PM
 #32

We need to get back to the basic and discuss ethical philosophy.

Ethics are great and all, until you start to bring guns into it.

In the case of the landlord and the tenant both are acting ethically by their own standards.  The landlord feels that he has a right to collect rent because he put up the capital to provide he house, the tenant feels he has no obligation to pay rent, because the land lord is simply seeking to extract value from past work and charging an absurd premium for current work (the maintenance, which would be much cheaper from a third party) both would be defending what they felt they have a right to if a conflict occured.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:46:49 PM
 #33


Ethics are great and all, until you start to bring guns into it.


If we don't have the same definition about what's unethical and what's not, then we're going in circles.

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February 02, 2011, 11:48:09 PM
 #34


Ethics are great and all, until you start to bring guns into it.


If we don't have the same definition about what's unethical and what's not, then we're going in circles.

We agree on many points, where we differ, as far as I can see, is how ownership is best defined, especcially without an external authority to do the defining.

 
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February 02, 2011, 11:49:07 PM
 #35

and charging an absurd premium for current work

Why absurd? If it's absurd on a free market a competition with lower prices should appear.
If there are people willing to pay that much for it, it's not absurd.

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February 02, 2011, 11:50:14 PM
 #36


Ethics are great and all, until you start to bring guns into it.


If we don't have the same definition about what's unethical and what's not, then we're going in circles.

We agree on many points, where we differ, as far as I can see, is how ownership is best defined, especcially without an external authority to do the defining.

 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Seriously you guys, if you read some of the links I posted it shows that non-governmental, non-monopolistic third party private property enforcement agencies work quite well in practice.
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February 03, 2011, 12:01:16 AM
 #37

and charging an absurd premium for current work

Why absurd? If it's absurd on a free market a competition with lower prices should appear.
If there are people willing to pay that much for it, it's not absurd.

That was my point,  if Kiba "owns" the house and expects rent, in return for which he maintains the house, and I choose to pay someone else less to maintain it, he is still going to feel he is owed rent.

From a practical standpoint all I get for the rent is maintenance, which I could get more cheaply elsewhere.

 
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February 03, 2011, 12:02:34 AM
 #38


Ethics are great and all, until you start to bring guns into it.


If we don't have the same definition about what's unethical and what's not, then we're going in circles.

We agree on many points, where we differ, as far as I can see, is how ownership is best defined, especcially without an external authority to do the defining.

 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Seriously you guys, if you read some of the links I posted it shows that non-governmental, non-monopolistic third party private property enforcement agencies work quite well in practice.

Really?  Why aren't they still around then?

 
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February 03, 2011, 12:05:08 AM
 #39

In the case of The Icelandic Commonwealth, it was the church that eventually destabilized the system. Gullible people were to blame Tongue

Then the American Old West was already owned by the USA, they just were leaving it alone. When they finally moved in, people accepted them because they were part of the country already, but had been dealing with things on their own.

Most recently in Somalia, the people are actively fighting back against a government being instated, and private property is defended in a way very similar to the Icelandic Commonwealth.
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February 03, 2011, 12:13:52 AM
 #40

In the case of The Icelandic Commonwealth, it was the church that eventually destabilized the system. Gullible people were to blame Tongue

Then the American Old West was already owned by the USA, they just were leaving it alone. When they finally moved in, people accepted them because they were part of the country already, but had been dealing with things on their own.

Most recently in Somalia, the people are actively fighting back against a government being instated, and private property is defended in a way very similar to the Icelandic Commonwealth.

I expect the Somalians will devolve back into Tyrrany,  I hope they will evolve to true Anarchy,  I sincerely doubt that they will manage to maintain their frontier sort of society for long at all.

 
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February 03, 2011, 12:14:46 AM
 #41

From a practical standpoint all I get for the rent is maintenance, which I could get more cheaply elsewhere.

Huh? No, not all you get for the rent is maintenance. What you get is a building to live in. You don't believe that houses appear just like that out of thin air, do you? The owner had to build it or buy it - it's an investment of time or money - and also a risk - he may get the money back eventually but he can't be sure - there are natural disasters etc. You on the other hand thanks to his investment don't have to spend large amount of time and money, nor risk that much - so if you prefer to pay a smaller price monthly, you rent it.

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February 03, 2011, 12:18:04 AM
 #42

In the case of The Icelandic Commonwealth, it was the church that eventually destabilized the system. Gullible people were to blame Tongue

Then the American Old West was already owned by the USA, they just were leaving it alone. When they finally moved in, people accepted them because they were part of the country already, but had been dealing with things on their own.

Most recently in Somalia, the people are actively fighting back against a government being instated, and private property is defended in a way very similar to the Icelandic Commonwealth.

I expect the Somalians will devolve back into Tyrrany,  I hope they will evolve to true Anarchy,  I sincerely doubt that they will manage to maintain their frontier sort of society for long at all.


All signs point toward things getting better for them, so I wouldn't be so sure about any sort of 'devolution to Tyranny', as the populous is dead set against it happening.
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February 03, 2011, 09:34:27 AM
 #43

It means this.

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.

Lets accept your defintions of capitalism and socialism. Why is any of those arrangements bad? (I am guessing you think one of those two arrangements is bad)

Quote
Ownership of the factory is a convenient legal fiction, it's a form of capital and isn't really sustainable without force.

This is not true. There are examples in history. You can argue its good or bad, but you can not say its impossible.

Also, you can not say they did not lasted. Every human society changes for worse and for better. The fact of the matter is that it is possible. And you can not say the prove is that they did not lasted specially when you propose a system that has never existed.

So please, explain to me what is wrong with any of those arrangements.


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February 04, 2011, 08:28:27 PM
 #44

It means this.

if a factory is used to produce boots under capitalism the boots belong to the owner of the factory, under socialism they belong to the workers who used the factory to produce the boots.

Lets accept your defintions of capitalism and socialism. Why is any of those arrangements bad? (I am guessing you think one of those two arrangements is bad)

Quote
Ownership of the factory is a convenient legal fiction, it's a form of capital and isn't really sustainable without force.

This is not true. There are examples in history. You can argue its good or bad, but you can not say its impossible.

Also, you can not say they did not lasted. Every human society changes for worse and for better. The fact of the matter is that it is possible. And you can not say the prove is that they did not lasted specially when you propose a system that has never existed.

So please, explain to me what is wrong with any of those arrangements.

What's wrong with the factory owner owning the product of the factory is that then he has the power to set wages and prices, the employees do not have equal power to do so.  This creates an inequality of power, which means that it is no longer an anarchist situation.  The owner is a government.

Anarcho-communism has also existed, in Ukraine and Spain,  in both cases it was destroyed by a military attack, not subverted from within as happened in the American West.

 
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kiba
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February 04, 2011, 09:14:02 PM
Last edit: February 04, 2011, 09:46:34 PM by kiba
 #45

What's wrong with the factory owner owning the product of the factory is that then he has the power to set wages and prices, the employees do not have equal power to do so.  This creates an inequality of power, which means that it is no longer an anarchist situation.  The owner is a government.

The factory owner is subjected to competition from outside. Laborers are subjected to labor competition. Supply and demand determine the negoitating power of factory owners and laborers.

IF the factory owner is desperate for labor, he may then spent an exorbitant amount of money to acquire said labor. In this case, laborers seem to be in a position of power.

However, if the situation is reversed, the factory owner is now in position seem to be in a position of power.

BUT, this is what factory worker and the factory owner agreed to. Libertarian ethical theory said this mutually agreed agreement cannot be interfered with no matter how unbalanced the power relation is.

Indeed, you may have seen me out there just BEGGING for jobs. The power of employers are great.

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February 04, 2011, 09:35:12 PM
 #46

What's wrong with the factory owner owning the product of the factory is that then he has the power to set wages and prices, the employees do not have equal power to do so.  This creates an inequality of power, which means that it is no longer an anarchist situation.  The owner is a government.

Kiba already explained perfectly why its not true that the factory owner sets wages. If it were true most employeers in the USA would pay only minimum wage. The reality is that only 4% pay minimum wage.

Now, it is true that government regulations hurt the workers position when negotiating a wage and allows the factory owner to pay less for labor. But this is not a problem of the free market, its a problem of state capitalism or corporate socialism (Ill let you choose the label).

Again, I would like to know why you think its wrong. I agree in a lot of things with socialists, specially mutualists, but I really dont get this obsession with demonizing wages.

Quote
Anarcho-communism has also existed, in Ukraine and Spain,  in both cases it was destroyed by a military attack, not subverted from within as happened in the American West.

The anarcho-communist communities did not live enough to see what would have happened. How do you interpret that they not were able to organize and defend themselves? Also its important to notice that some of this communities became extremely morally repressive even banning alcohol. In some few cases they even became murderers.

Also, all societies that are capable of lasting die from within. Its human nature. People get used to the institutions that gave them prosperity and take them from granted. Then they start neglecting this institutions assuming the prosperity will last. Its nothing extrange, it happens to all systems because its human nature.

Btw, I dont think the American West as a whole is an example of anarchy. Some regions and some zones in particular were, but not all, although there is no doubt there were freer than today.


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kiba
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February 04, 2011, 10:08:59 PM
 #47


Again, I would like to know why you think its wrong. I agree in a lot of things with socialists, specially mutualists, but I really dont get this obsession with demonizing wages.
If it is our ethical principles that is leading to differing conclusions like this, than we should discuss them.

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