Re: The Property Protocol

Eric Watt Forste (
Tue, 05 Nov 1996 00:58:17 -0800

Suresh Naidu wrote:
> We get rid of all coercive institutions, both government and
> corporations.

How are corporations coercive again? Governments are fundamentally
coercive, right down to their root. Big corporations usually avail
themselves of government coercion (so does nearly everyone who
votes), but I don't see any deep connection between the notion of
a corporation and the use of force. A corporation is just a form
of voluntary association.

> Then we see what social structures turn up. You say the natural
> relationship between humans is trade. I say it's cooperation. I
> think our ability to cooperate was vital to our evolutionary
> success.

Where did you get the idea that trade is not a form of cooperation?
I've got A and you've got B and I like B better than A and you like
A better than B and so we trade, and both benefit. Win/win.
Cooperation. Human beings spent most of their evolution living in
small tribes, cooperating with the members of their tribe and
ignoring or competing with all other human beings. But we don't
live in tribes anymore (or at least, we need to cooperate with more
people than just the people we know personally). Trade is the method
we've evolved for cooperating with all the other people in the
world. Trade is a method of cooperation that you can use with people
that you don't know well enough to trust to cooperate with in any
other way.

> Why do you equate the desire for a good life for all with central
> planning. I hate and fear government just as much as you do. But I also
> hate and fear the business interests which lie to me with their
> advertising and poison my water with their pollution.

Desire for your own good life doesn't imply central planning, but
desire for strangers to lead a good life (beyond simply attending
to their desires, which is just trade) does imply central planning.
It does so because desire for strangers to lead a good life (again,
other than simply sometimes doing what they want you to do) implies
that you can know what constitutes a good life for anyone other
than yourself and those you know very well. Lately, I have become
convinced that it is impossible for me to know what constitutes a
good life for anyone other than myself.

As for lying advertising, I hate it too, but corporations are hardly
the only ones who lie. Lying goes much deeper than such shallow
and recently invented social structures. The lying that you see
emanating from corporations is, ultimately, committed by individuals
within the corporations. It is so difficult to say, after all, what
exactly honesty might mean as long as we still relegate the question
"What is truth?" to the philosophers instead of trying hard to
decide for ourselves. And also, I don't know about you, but I find
that I have a very difficult time distinguishing between stupidity
and lies. Left-anarchism isn't going to be able to magically do
away with stupidity.

And as for the water... did you actually experience corporate
pollution in your water, and did you personally trace the causality
behind that directly to some evil corporation, or is it possible
that you are repeating things you've been told without thinking
through all the reasons why you might have been told them?

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++