Re: Gov't loves gov't

Tony Hollick (
Fri, 23 Jan 98 18:07 GMT0

John K Clark writes eloquently, and well:

|If I want to sell something, and you want to buy, we agree on a price and
|make the exchange, end of story. It's understandable to both of us, it's
|simple, it's elegant, it works. A system that was as simple as the market and
|worked as well, would have been found by now, and as I have not heard any
|reports of this interesting development, leads me to believe that it does not
|exist. A protocol that needs 10 years of super computer time before I can buy
|a can od beer is not better than the market, regardless of what it's other
|virtues may be.

This is true, but it also completely begs the question of how
_either_ of you come to own anything in the first place. No-one has
ever provided a satisfying explanation of how a person comes to
'own' a given piece of land from a state of nature. The
'labour-mixing' argument doesn't hold water. Why is your labour not
just wasted effort? The 'resources-mixing' argument begs the first
question, and fails Nozick's test of why -- if you pour a can of
beer into the Pacific -- you haven't just wasted 'your' beer,
instead of acquiring a part-share in the Pacific! >:-}

There is a legal maxim: "Non Dat Quod Non Habet" (you cannot give
what you do not have). 97% of American land is owned by around 3%
of the population, or so I understand. Wonder why there's this wild
skew? It bears looking into. Look back far enough, and you find
something pretty questionable (or outright predatory). Partial land
rights in 80% of Australia are presently being awarded to
Aboriginals by the Australian civil courts. The politicians are
threatening revocation.

Next problem: As the Austrian Economists tell us, catallaxies (or
economic games) are abstract 'Wertfrei' systems capapble of
configuration in a myriad ways. How do we decide on which
_particular_ catallaxy is operative? You're no better off with
'Chicago School' reasoning either: Milton Friedman points out that
property rights _cannot_ be ontological; and are ineluctably _agreed
conventions_. How do you handle problems of unequal bargaining
powers? Coerced 'consent'?

You would surely counsel any player in the economic game to seek the
best deal possible for their consent to any _particular_ game taking
place, wouldn't you? Remember Lee Marvin and Toshio Mifune in 'Hell
in the Pacific'? A lovely and illuminating movie, with Marvin as a
coarse, predatory G.I.; and Mifune as a refined, gratification
delaying Japanese hunter-gatherer and producer. They're shipwrecked
together on a Pacific island in WWII. Marvin can always screw up
Mifune's hunting, gathering and production unless given his 'share'
in the 'take'. A 'modus vivendi' must somehow be reached, or
pre-emptive 'race-to-kill-first' rules come into play.

A fair part of your body was once part of other peoples' bodies. If
their heirs could prove this, should you give the 'pound of flesh'
back? Even if you _could_?

The LeFevrian Agorist Objection: How, precisely, do you assert
'your' exclusive property claim to _anything_, without threatening
to initiate _violence_ againt a non-violent 'intruder'? Rather as
the white Australian farmers did against the nomadic 'Abos.' When I
lived in Australia, attending Geelong Grammar School, I used to hear
stories of armed 'Abo' hunts at week-ends, and bowls of 'free'
poisoned porridge placed conveniently near fences... The 'Abos'
couldn't get it through their thick heads that the settlers believed
_they_ owned all the -- 'Terra Nullius' -- land now. And all those
tasty woolly white animals wandering around all over it...

You see the problem?

Rather than engage in a fruitless search for 'ontological' property
rights, isn't it better to offer people this deal?

"Let's choose the (Pareto-optimal?) catallaxy together; and agree
shares in the output; and that way, we _all_ gain from selecting the
most productive, rights-enhancing system."

This becomes especially important as the classical-liberal model of
economic participation fails, as intelligent machines pre-empt even
the dollar-a-day penns, Lao-Gai slaves and Asian sweatshop
labourers. If we are to preserve the priceless (!) core values of
classical liberalism (and I hope we do!), we have to adapt our
vector-driven catallactic economic systems to the 21st Century.

Most people cannot hope to play the economic game and win against
intelligent machines; any more than World Champion Garry Kasparov
can make a living playing chess against chess computers for piece
rates. That way lies the Marxian madness of fewer and fewer
capitalists immiserating a greater and greater number of everyday
people. Here, we had the goddamn Norman invaders stealing
everything from the indigenous Saxons, Celts, Angles etc.,
destroyingtheir free ways of life, and subjugating them.

A thousand years later, and the Norman bastards (or rather, their
bastard descendants) still have around 90% of all the land and all
the money and all the power, and are overdue for expropriation.

Or do you rather want us to find a fine future in our -- feudal --
past? >:-}

/ /\ \

Tony Hollick, LightSmith (LA-Agora Conference) (Agora Home Page, Rainbow Bridge Foundation) (NorthWest Coalition Against Malicious Harrassment)

------------------- * * * * * ---------------

| * |
- <*> --------------------------* * * *-------------------------- <*> -
| Rainbow Bridge Foundation * * * Centre for Liberal Studies |
- <*> --------------------------* * * *-------------------------- <*> -
| 4 Grayling House, Canford Rd: * Bristol BS9 3NU Tel: 9098918 |

Fasten your safety belts. You never had a trip like this before

------------------- * * * * * ---------------