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Author Topic: Read this before having an opinion on economics  (Read 23866 times)
BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 02:12:06 PM
 #181

From where do you derive rights at all?

My friend has a great blog post about this, from the perspective of a subjectivist. The whole thing is worth reading, but I want to specifically quote the section that argues for the right to property as an example of what I am looking for (roughly).

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The chief resource of any subjective entity is their own body. The foundation for any subjective entity feeling secure is in having control of their own body to direct toward whatever aims it so wishes in acquiring a greater sense of security. Thus the very nature of the cooperative social mode of objectifying the subjective is founded on two implicit but foundational agreements, often called natural rights (in this context, rights born from the very nature of what it means to be social):

    1) the right to life; and
    2) the right to liberty

These two natural rights are technically negative rights, which means that they require a particular absence of action by others. The directive of these rights stated in negative terms are: a subjective entity has the right to expect that other subjective entities will not take their life (for without their life they cannot use the chief resource of their body) and the right to expect other subjective entities will not force their body to perform actions against their will.
 
Because the very definition of social is the respect for the voluntary actions of others in cooperation, we may term such behavior as being bounded by a social contract. Like any other contract, a subjective entity gains rights (natural rights in this case) so long as they abide by the contract; should they break the contract, they lose any privileges gained as rights by that contract. Since the use of aggressive violence is by definition a breaking of that contract, the use of violence can only be justified on social grounds in defensive use against such aggression. This is commonly called the non-aggression principle, that no justification exists for the initiation of violence.

There is a third natural right leading directly from the first two, but it is less direct, and that is the right to property. If a resource has not been gathered by any subjective entity and then is, the resource becomes the property of the subjective entity that has put their body and time into collecting it. Thus if another subjective entity takes that resource away without the consent of the owner, they have, through the clever leveraging of time, controlled the body of the owner. It is in effect the taker making a claim that the use of the body and time of the owner is theirs regardless of the wishes of the owner. It is thus the same thing as if the taker had beaten the owner into gaining the resource and beaten them to take it. It is theft and it is characterized by its aggressive violence and thus it breaks the social contract.
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deadlizard
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May 02, 2011, 02:40:25 PM
 #182

My friend has a great blog post about this, from the perspective of a subjectivist. The whole thing is worth reading, but I want to specifically quote the section that argues for the right to property as an example of what I am looking for (roughly).
I agree with all of that, but what makes the product of my mind (which also takes time and labour) any different from physical property?

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 02:51:26 PM
 #183

I agree with all of that, but what makes the product of my mind (which also takes time and labour) any different from physical property?

It did not start off as an unowned resource, and it is not scarce. Scarcity is what creates the need for property, as it is the source of dispute. If I steal your physical book, you can no longer make use of that book. But if I infringe on your copyright, you still have the original book, and the book-pattern, the symbols in a particular order that form a story. Stephen Kinsella calls these "ideal objects" in his short paper Against Intellectual Property. As they do not fit into the category of property, my questions stand.
JA37
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May 02, 2011, 02:52:12 PM
 #184


That is simply false. There is still the incentive for the enjoyment of creating, becoming famous from creating, selling live performances, donations, etc. There are people that wish to create but can't because you can't use characters from existing works for fear of lawsuits. So it seems to me that even though there will be some discouragement to some people there will be encouragement to others. Which outweighs which? Do you have anything to offer aside from your gut feelings?

I would also like to add that we have a plethora of real world examples of free (as in free speech) intellectual creations being created and quite often working out better than commercialized intellectual creations. We have loads of free software for example, and not many computer scientists would argue that msdos is a better kernel than linux. We also have wikipedia that accumulated around 16 million USD of donations last year. So not only are people willing to give away there time for free in doing tasks that benefit the community as a whole but also, people are willing to give them money for doing so.
I would also like to point out - although this can be considered a subjective opinion I suppose - that intellectual works made with only money as an incentive (e.g. most big movies) are plain crap since their goal is not the expression of an artistic vision from the creator but just creating as much money as possible by pleasing the evermore stupid crowd of people who will buy it.

When was the last time you saw an "open source" drug in the market? Drug as in medicine I mean. I can think of Jonas Salk who did give away his polio vaccine, but how many other examples can you think of?

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NghtRppr
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May 02, 2011, 03:20:30 PM
 #185

My friend has a great blog post about this, from the perspective of a subjectivist. The whole thing is worth reading, but I want to specifically quote the section that argues for the right to property as an example of what I am looking for (roughly).
I agree with all of that, but what makes the product of my mind (which also takes time and labour) any different from physical property?


You don't necessarily own the products of your labor. If you steal wood from me and make a chair, you don't own the chair. I own the chair and you owe me for damages to my wood.

By telling me what I can and can't do with my ink and paper, you are claiming ownership of my property, which is theft since it wasn't given to you voluntarily but rather under threat of violence or imprisonment.
deadlizard
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May 02, 2011, 03:45:43 PM
 #186

it is not scarce. 
then why are you copying my book? WRITE YOUR OWN DAMN BOOK  Angry j/k (sort of)

You don't necessarily own the products of your labor. If you steal wood from me and make a chair, you don't own the chair. I own the chair and you owe me for damages to my wood.

By telling me what I can and can't do with my ink and paper, you are claiming ownership of my property, which is theft since it wasn't given to you voluntarily but rather under threat of violence or imprisonment.
all true

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 04:07:48 PM
 #187

it is not scarce. 
then why are you copying my book? WRITE YOUR OWN DAMN BOOK  Angry j/k (sort of)

Ideas, or "ideal objects" are not scarce in the economic sense. Wood is scarce because you and I can't use the same wood at the same time. A story, song, piece of software (etc) are not scarce because you and I can use them at the same time.
JA37
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May 02, 2011, 05:06:51 PM
 #188

Ideas, or "ideal objects" are not scarce in the economic sense. Wood is scarce because you and I can't use the same wood at the same time. A story, song, piece of software (etc) are not scarce because you and I can use them at the same time.

Time is scarce. Yet somehow you feel that you have the right to mine.

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 05:11:00 PM
 #189

Ideas, or "ideal objects" are not scarce in the economic sense. Wood is scarce because you and I can't use the same wood at the same time. A story, song, piece of software (etc) are not scarce because you and I can use them at the same time.

Time is scarce. Yet somehow you feel that you have the right to mine.

Time is not scarce in the economic sense, in fact it doesn't make sense to say that you and I "can't use the same time" or "can use the same time". I did not force you to share your ideas, you did it of your own volition. You have made no argument that you have the right to control the use of your ideas after you share them.

If I felt I had a right to your time, I would make you my slave or take your possessions.
JA37
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May 02, 2011, 05:25:44 PM
 #190

Time is not scarce in the economic sense, in fact it doesn't make sense to say that you and I "can't use the same time" or "can use the same time". I did not force you to share your ideas, you did it of your own volition. You have made no argument that you have the right to control the use of your ideas after you share them.

If I felt I had a right to your time, I would make you my slave or take your possessions.

But you do want to take my possessions. You want to take the thing I've spent years on. And you want to make me your slave. You've taken my time for your own.

And how is time not scarce? Once spent, on whatever thing, it won't come back. I can only spend my time on one thing, and then it's gone. Forever.
Clearly you've never worked as a contractor. Time is scarce and valuable.  Wink

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 05:32:48 PM
 #191

But you do want to take my possessions. You want to take the thing I've spent years on. And you want to make me your slave. You've taken my time for your own.

First you have to show that ideas are possessions. Likewise, you want to make me your slave by forcing me to pay you for using my property in a certain way.

Quote
And how is time not scarce? Once spent, on whatever thing, it won't come back. I can only spend my time on one thing, and then it's gone. Forever.
Clearly you've never worked as a contractor. Time is scarce and valuable.  Wink

That's not what is meant by scarcity in this sense. Think of a hammer - if I'm using it, you can't use it. Does that same statement apply to a story, or a song, or any other idea?

Just answer the questions... why do you have the right to control the use of your ideas? Why does that right supersede my right to liberty?
JA37
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May 02, 2011, 05:49:57 PM
 #192

First you have to show that ideas are possessions. Likewise, you want to make me your slave by forcing me to pay you for using my property in a certain way.

That's not what is meant by scarcity in this sense. Think of a hammer - if I'm using it, you can't use it. Does that same statement apply to a story, or a song, or any other idea?

Just answer the questions... why do you have the right to control the use of your ideas? Why does that right supersede my right to liberty?

If I don't share my it's my possession, right? Industrial espionage would still be punishable in your world? Why then does it end to be my possession all of a sudden?
And I don't want to force you to use your property in a certain way, I want to prevent you. Sort of like how your right to wave your fists around ends where my face begins.

It applies to time. If I'm using it to invent unobtanium, it can't be used for something else.

Why I have the right to control my ideas? Because they're mine perhaps? I spent time and by extension money on it. You don't have the right to wander into my property, why doesn't that apply to IP? Why does the right to property supersede your right to liberty?

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djoot
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May 02, 2011, 06:02:44 PM
 #193

ITT: Religious argument about rights.

Rights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E
Law: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn84m1pvh4
BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 06:41:02 PM
 #194

Why I have the right to control my ideas? Because they're mine perhaps? I spent time and by extension money on it. You don't have the right to wander into my property, why doesn't that apply to IP? Why does the right to property supersede your right to liberty?

Because we both cannot use your property at the same time (thus, if I were to use it against your will, I would deprive you of its use). We can both use your idea at the same time, so I can use it against your will without depriving you of its use. You don't seem to realize that the reason theft is bad is because it deprives the rightful owner of its use.

Think about it this way. If we could make copies of physical things as easily as we could information, there would be no need for property rights. If you had a lawnmower and I made a copy of it, have I diminished your use of the lawnmower in any way? Perhaps you sell lawnmowers... well, it's kind of dumb to try to sell copies of things that can easily be copied. Should you be able to kill me in order to stop me from copying your lawnmowers?

Intellectual property is just as stupid.
JA37
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May 02, 2011, 07:06:19 PM
 #195


Because we both cannot use your property at the same time (thus, if I were to use it against your will, I would deprive you of its use). We can both use your idea at the same time, so I can use it against your will without depriving you of its use. You don't seem to realize that the reason theft is bad is because it deprives the rightful owner of its use.

Think about it this way. If we could make copies of physical things as easily as we could information, there would be no need for property rights. If you had a lawnmower and I made a copy of it, have I diminished your use of the lawnmower in any way? Perhaps you sell lawnmowers... well, it's kind of dumb to try to sell copies of things that can easily be copied. Should you be able to kill me in order to stop me from copying your lawnmowers?

Intellectual property is just as stupid.

So I can move into your house, use your bed when you're not using it? Use your kitchen when you're not using it? I'm not depriving you of anything as long as I stay out of your way, correct?
I do realize theft is bad, I just extend it to "think-work" too. I do believe IP could do with some reform, but eliminating it is bad imho.
Copyrights are good for preventing you from just copying my work. You can still write your own song, book. Just don't take mine. Your work is yours, mine is mine.
Patents are good for protecting an implementation. If you can find another way of doing the same thing, go right ahead. Don't copy my way of doing it. Your work is yours, mine is mine.

Killing you? That's a little extreme don't you think? I never suggested that anyone should be killed over IP.

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JA37
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May 02, 2011, 07:06:38 PM
 #196

Also relevant... http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html

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BitterTea
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May 02, 2011, 07:20:35 PM
 #197

If you support the use of force against individuals that make use of your ideas against your will, you ultimately support killing them.

Do you think an individual has the right to defend himself against aggression?

Do you think you have the right to fine me for infringing on your copyright?

Do you think you have the right to send armed men to my house if I don't pay your fine?

Do you think those men have the right to kill me if I defend myself against them?

Can you answer my question regarding a world where physical goods are as easy to copy as intellectual goods? Does it make sense that the above escalation of force is justified if I copy your lawnmower?
NghtRppr
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May 02, 2011, 10:21:36 PM
 #198

So I can move into your house, use your bed when you're not using it? Use your kitchen when you're not using it? I'm not depriving you of anything as long as I stay out of your way, correct?

Correct, but it's the fact that I can't possibly use it, even if I don't want to. That's what makes it scarce. That's what makes it ownable. Once I own it, I get to control the use of it, even if I'm not using it all the time. Of course, this assumes that things have objectively defined uses, which is false. Maybe I collect beds. Maybe I derive joy from knowing I have a clean bed with pristine sheets on it. In that sense, I'm always using it and you would be depriving me of something just by laying on it. However, as mentioned already, that's irrelevant.
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May 02, 2011, 10:22:25 PM
 #199

If you support the use of force against individuals that make use of your ideas against your will, you ultimately support killing them.

Do you think an individual has the right to defend himself against aggression?

Do you think you have the right to fine me for infringing on your copyright?

Do you think you have the right to send armed men to my house if I don't pay your fine?

Do you think those men have the right to kill me if I defend myself against them?

Can you answer my question regarding a world where physical goods are as easy to copy as intellectual goods? Does it make sense that the above escalation of force is justified if I copy your lawnmower?

No.
Yes.
Yes.
No.
No.

Since we don't live in la-la land the question is quite pointless. There is a difference between physical and intellectual property. And there's no labour involved in the lawnmover example. If you did copy my "lawnmover" while the rest of you used a scythe to cut your grass, then yes, I would mind. The above escalation, no, I don't condone killings.
And why did you ignore my questions?

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NghtRppr
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May 02, 2011, 10:33:48 PM
 #200

If you support the use of force against individuals that make use of your ideas against your will, you ultimately support killing them.

Do you think an individual has the right to defend himself against aggression?

Do you think you have the right to fine me for infringing on your copyright?

Do you think you have the right to send armed men to my house if I don't pay your fine?

Do you think those men have the right to kill me if I defend myself against them?

Can you answer my question regarding a world where physical goods are as easy to copy as intellectual goods? Does it make sense that the above escalation of force is justified if I copy your lawnmower?

No.
Yes.
Yes.
No.
No.

Since we don't live in la-la land the question is quite pointless. There is a difference between physical and intellectual property. And there's no labour involved in the lawnmover example. If you did copy my "lawnmover" while the rest of you used a scythe to cut your grass, then yes, I would mind. The above escalation, no, I don't condone killings.
And why did you ignore my questions?

If you don't condone killing then your threats have no teeth. Good luck collecting your fines. I will be balling them up in the trash or using them to light my grill.
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